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Public Toilets Worth Visiting

We know many people who have public toilet anxiety. Whether it’s just a fear of the unknown, concerns about hygiene, or even the different cultural aspects of going about this very private business. The public toilet is more a place we try to not visit, than one on our must-see list.

Japan is already one of the cleanest countries with public toilets having higher hygiene standards than the rest of the world.  The Japanese, however have the same fears than the rest of of the World: public toilets are dirty and unsafe and should thus be avoided.  

The Nippon Foundation launched the first few of 17 new public toilets in Shibuya that can be used by anyone, as part of THE TOKYO TOILET project.  According to their site: “These public toilets are being designed by 16 leading creators, and will use advanced design to make them accessible for everyone regardless of gender, age, or disability, to demonstrate the possibilities of an inclusive society. In addition to the construction, we have arranged for ongoing maintenance so that people will feel comfortable using these public toilets and to foster a spirit of hospitality for the next person.”

Of these 17,  2 designed by Shigeru Ban have been shared the most in the international press. 

Photos by Satoshi Natare

Photos by Satoshi Natare

Photos by Satoshi Natare

Photos by Satoshi Natare


Transparent walls! 

Privacy is one pre-requisite we have for using the toilet.  So see-through walls… that seems contradictory.  However, if you think of more fundamental needs for hygiene and security, being able to see and judge these from the outside literally clears the barrier to entry.  Eventually, we learn that the transparent glass becomes opaque when the lock is closed, giving us all the privacy we need to enjoy the facilities.

It’s never easy but breaking through can be elegantly simple.  These types of solutions for everyday challenges are what we seek and celebrate at Flying Fish Lab.   We’d love to share more with you so come say hello at, or subscribe to our newsletter for more, interesting content.


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