17 Eye-Catching Public Restrooms Now Available in Shibuya, Tokyo

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A public restroom with transparent glass walls that is featured in the movie “Perfect Days”

17 distinctive public restrooms, including two shielded by transparent glass and another designed by architect Tadao Ando, are now finished and available for use in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward.

Under The Tokyo Toilet project, initiated by the Nippon Foundation, public restrooms at 17 locations in the ward were recently renovated.

“Now that there are more women using these facilities, and tourists are returning to the capital, we want to keep them in good shape,” Shibuya Ward Mayor Ken Hasebe said at a ceremony to mark the completion of the renovation work at the Shibuya Ward Office on June 23.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Shibuya Ward Mayor Ken Hasebe, left, receives a cleaner’s uniform from Jumpei Sasakawa, the Nippon Foundation’s executive director, at a ceremony in Shibuya Ward on June 23.

Koji Yanai, a group senior executive officer of Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing Co., conceived the idea for the project, hoping to build restrooms that are pleasant to use regardless of users’ disabilities, age or gender.

The foundation and the ward office, which have partnered to help solve social issues, embarked together on the renovation work.

In addition to Ando and Kengo Kuma, 14 internationally renowned architects and creators designed the facilities. The restrooms walled with transparent glass that becomes opaque when a stall is locked have proven particularly popular.

Facilities from the project are even featured in Wim Wenders’ “Perfect Days.” Koji Yakusho, 67, won the Best Actor award at the 76th Cannes Film Festival in May for his role as a restroom cleaner in the film.

“The end of renovations is not the end of the project, and we will continue to support it to make these facilities even easier to use,” Yanai said at the work completion ceremony.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Wim Wenders, right, and Koji Yakusho, second from right, are seen after the screening of “Perfect Days” at the Cannes Film Festival in May.