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Are public toilets easy to find in Japan?

Are public toilets easy to find in Japan?

May 29th, 2004, 06:23 PM
  #1  
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Are public toilets easy to find in Japan?

In Europe, the rule of thumb is - don't pass a toilet especially if it is free!! This is because public toilets are so rare you have to buy a drink in a cafe to use their toilets.

So I wondered if Japan was the same?
I'm guessing art galleries, museums, and department stores are the places, but what if you are visiting a shrine or temple, or just wandering the streets of a city?

Sorry to ask all these questions, but we are going in about 2 weeks, so I have little time for research, although I do have guide books on Japan, Kyoto and Tokyo.
Amanda is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 07:28 PM
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Very easy. Every convenience store, department store, supermarket, office building, shopping center, tourist attraction has toilets. If you can't find the sign, just ask the staff where the toilet is...use the word toilet and you will have no trouble...bathroom won't be understood. Japan is the land of toilets
KimJapan is offline  
May 30th, 2004, 12:02 AM
  #3  
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Thank you Kim, for all the good advice you give on this board! Just basic knowledge is a big help!
My nephew who learnt Japanese for 5 years and went to Kyoto for 6 weeks over xmas holidays - school exchange - heard I spoke no Japanese and had a fit!!! I said everyone on Fodors was very positive and I was sure we'd manage with pointing and so on! He taught me the words for "speak slowly" and "please repeat"!!
Amanda is offline  
May 30th, 2004, 02:42 AM
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Don't worry about not speaking Japanese. You won't be expected to know any because your aren't Japanese. Even though I can speak Japanese, sometimes people are so shocked they reply by saying they don't speak English...then realize their mistake and that Japanese actually did come out of my foreigner mouth...pretty funny sometimes.

Just saying thank you politely a lot will be appreciated (arigatou gozaimasu). And excuse me (sumimasen). You will manage with English, gestures and patience. The only thing you might have trouble with is getting directions...not because you are a foreigner though. Often, in my city, we see Japanese tourists who are lost. We live very close to a big tourist attraction, so we give directions often. We often get a huge thank you, and the comment that they'd already asked several Japanese people and they didn't know or didn't help them and how funny it is that the foreigners not only know where they want to go but also speak Japanese and help them.

You'll be fine...believe me!
KimJapan is offline  
May 30th, 2004, 04:36 AM
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Other than in out-of-the-way places, most Japanese aren't shocked to find foreigners (here read Westerners) with fluent Japanese. In places like Tokyo and Kyoto, many expect them to speak and understand basic Japanese, and will most likely address you in Japanese first, and only switch to English (if they are capable) when faced with a puzzled look.
As for public toilets, most have WC sign, and pictogram of blue man and red woman. While Western sit-down toilets are getting more common, in places like stations and parks, they are still overwhelmingly squat-down types, often lacking paper. Paper towels and hand dryers are often missing as well. Stock up on free tissues given out in the street and use your handkerchief for drying your hands. It's considered bad manners to dry hands with your hanky while coming out of the toilet block.
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