Tour of innovative public lavatories held in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Restroom tour participants view a specially designed public lavatory in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, that has transparent glass walls when it is vacant

A tour of public lavatories designed by famous architects was held in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo.

The ward boasts public restrooms with unique designs that have been installed under The Tokyo Toilet, a project by the Nippon Foundation to change the image of public lavatories as being gloomy and filthy.

The Shibuya City Tourism Association held the tour on Nov. 10. Ten people participated in the tour, including architecture students. They visited nine places in the ward to see innovative lavatories.

One of the facilities has walls made of special glass that is transparent when the restroom is vacant but, once the door is locked, the glass becomes opaque and cannot be seen through.

At the lavatory in Haru-no-Ogawa Community Park, the participants also observed how it is cleaned.

“We use a mild chemical agent and special equipment [to clean the lavatory] to maintain both hygiene and durability,” a cleaner explained to the group.

The tour program also included a meeting with comedian Mitsuharu Sato, who uses the alias Dr. Toilet for his restroom-related activities.

“It’s great that users’ attributes and traits are reflected in the design depending on the facility,” said a Chuo University junior who took part in the tour. “I’d like to be careful about using public lavatories cleanly.”