Bathrooms around the world: Japan

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A bathroom is a bathroom, right? Not so! Bathrooms in Canada, the U.S. and other Western countries have different qualities than those found in other parts of the world. Take Japan, for instance. Japanese bathrooms are distinctly unique from other parts of the world, as they cater to multigenerational households and the restricted space of older homes. Here are a few features you’ll see in Japanese bathrooms that you won’t typically find elsewhere in the world.

Areas for various people

In Japanese culture, households are usually made up of multiple generations living together. As a result, there may be more people fighting for use of the bathroom. To address this issue, Japanese bathrooms typically have three separate and distinct parts. There’s the sink area, the bathtub area and the toilet area. With doors between the spaces, three people could be using the bathroom at once, while still maintaining privacy.

Multipurpose spaces

Sinks in Japanese bathrooms are large and have a handheld nozzle so you can not only wash your hands but bathe a child if need be. On top of that, these unique bathrooms have an extra sink on the back of the toilet so you can still wash up even if someone else is using the main sink. Additionally, the bathtub area usually includes a rod for hanging wet clothing to dry.

Always going green

There are two main ways Japanese bathrooms are the epitome of environmentally friendly. First, because the tradition is to bathe yourself before you get in the bathtub, the bathwater stays clean, so multiple people can use it. Second, the washing machine has a special vacuum hose that can be placed directly into the bathtub to suck the bathwater up. From there, it’s used to clean dirty clothing in the wash cycle. Talk about reusing and recycling!

Looking for more information about Japanese bathrooms? This little girl’s tour of her bathroom in Japan will give you a better sense of how the space is used effectively and efficiently.

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