Japan Introduces Transparent Public Toilets that Turn Opaque when Occupied

transparent toilets japan
Pic by Satoshi Nagare

What’s your first thought when you hear about the words “public toilet”? It would be dirty, smelly, or a bit scary. Those are some common responses you would hear a lot when the question is given. 

Everybody would agree with that. Public toilets mean everybody can use them. This is what makes the facility get overused during the time, and the frequency will decline as months pass by, due to cleanliness problems. 

In Japan, there are newly installed transparent washrooms that turn opaque when occupied. The invention was brought by the Tokyo Toilet Project. The aims are to introduce to people safe and clean public restrooms. 

The toilets were installed at two parks in Tokyo such as Haru-NO-Ogawa Community Park and Yoyogi Fukamichi Mini Park. 

You can see through what’s inside the toilets from the outside. The idea is to promote that the colored-glass public facilities are clean and safe as you can tell there’s nobody in there. 

Many people are afraid of using public toilets for some reason and the project was trying to break the stigma that has been lingering on people for a long time. 

transparent toilets japan
Pic by Satoshi Nagare

“There are two things we worry about when entering a public restroom, especially those located at a park. The first is cleanliness, and the second is whether anyone is inside. Using the latest technology, the exterior glass turns opaque when locked. 

This allows users to check the cleanliness and whether anyone is using the toilet from the outside. At night, the facility lights up the park like a beautiful lantern,” said the architect Shigeru Ban, the recipient of the Pritzker Prize 2014, on the Toilet Project’s website

This is such a breaking through invention that could change the way people seeing public toilets. The toilets will turn bright like a lantern at night like seen in the picture below. 

transparent toilets japan
Pic by Satoshi Nagare

Although there are some clear explanations about how to use the public facilities, people still feel slightly unconfident to go in there and think whether people can see them from the outside or not.

In Indonesia especially in big cities like Jakarta, people have to pay around Rp2,000 to Rp3,000 when using a public toilet. Public urination is also bothersome as you’re going to smell the unpleasant odor. 

In Jakarta and its neighboring cities, you would find men often answer the call of nature on walls, trees, or sewers although there are clear rules not to urinate in public. 

Those who are caught in the act can be fined and put behind bars, but the Public Order Agency members would rather use a smooth way to remind them not to do so. 

It would be an experience for women if they encounter it by chance, and would walk quickly to pass them. 

Public toilets are necessary as they can help you from the urgent need to pee, and It will be troublesome if you have to go to a far place just for that as you can’t find any. 

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