What Is A Japanese Toilet? | Features, Benefits & Helpful Information
More homeowners across England have been adding smart technology to their houses. Doorbells, remote-controlled lightbulbs, doors that unlock when your smartphone is nearby…the list goes on.
How can you add some of that smart home savvy to your bathroom? Adding a Japanese toilet may be the answer.
In this post, I’ll explain what a Japanese toilet is, the features, benefits and everything that this increasingly popular piece of sanitaryware can do for your health and comfort.
Let’s get into it.
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What Is A Japanese Toilet?
Today when we refer to a Japanese toilet, we are talking about a toilet that features additional technology upgrades compared to the traditional Western toilet with a handle, bowl, and cistern. On some luxury versions, there are as many buttons on the toilet as your television, with tourists often making fun of figuring out how to use the toilet when visiting Japan.
Before 1980, Japanese toilets often referred to an in-floor urinal that the user would squat over. However, the modern version is typically wall-mounted much like a toilet found in the UK with either a hidden or visible cistern.
The TOTO Washlet set the standard for Japanese toilets during the 80s and 90s as it added a built-in bidet with options for a heated seat and massage. Although Washlet is a model of Japanese toilet manufactured by TOTO, Japanese toilets are often referred to as Washlets because the brand and model are so well associated with the concept of Japanese toilets.
What Are The Features Of A Japanese Toilet?
Most styles of Japanese toilets found for sale in Great Britain include the integrated bidet, which provides a warm water spray to clean your bum and genitals after going to the bathroom. This can eliminate the need to use paper and is considered a more hygienic practice for your skin. The bidet is activated using a button mounted to the side of the toilet bowl.
Many Japanese toilets have two dedicated adjustable spray arms (1 for standard rear, 1 for lady spray) with a range of spray settings and options, including a pulsating massage spray.
One of the most popular upgrades is the heated seat. Older versions maintained a warm toilet seat at all times, but newer versions include motion activation. When somebody enters the restroom, the seat heater will prepare the cold seat for use.
Other luxury upgrades that can be included on your ultimate Japanese toilet include a motion-activated toilet seat that opens when you walk in the room, automated sound effects to shield the noise created by urinating, a massaging seat, a hand-held remote, and even light effects for the bowl and handles.
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What Are The Benefits Of A Japanese Toilet?
When you use a Japanese toilet instead of a more traditional flush and wipe system you can enjoy:
- Improved Personal Hygiene and Health: Warm water washes away germs, helping you to avoid infections. Also, no harsh paper is rubbing against your most sensitive bits or irritated skin.
- A More Comfortable Restroom Experience: With a heated seat, there is no shock of cold porcelain meeting your skin in the wee hours of the morning. The warm wash after leaves a refreshed feeling.
- Space-Saving Designs: If you wanted a bidet in a traditional bathroom design, the extra piece of sanitaryware takes up valuable square metres. With the Japanese design, you get all the perks found in a luxury restroom but it can fit in your modest home.
- Maintain Your Independence: Some people with restricted mobility may find it difficult to use a traditional toilet and properly care for their skin. Add a handrail for support, and the Japanese toilet will see to your personal health without the need for a health aid.
Can You Buy A Japanese Toilet In The UK?
Yes. You will find a variety of Japanese toilets for sale at your local home improvement and plumbing supply stores as well as online. However, in the UK we sometimes refer to them as ‘smart toilets’, rather than Japanese toilets.
You can choose to buy a complete toilet system or a separate seat and attach it to your existing toilet (assuming they are compatible).
How Much Do Japanese Toilets Cost? (UK)
Japanese toilets (or smart toilets) can vary quite dramatically in cost. It will depend on the make and model you choose as well as if you a buying a whole system or just installing a seat. However, you can expect to pay anything from £300 – £6000.
Below, are some of the best-selling brands, their average pricing, and most popular features.
Vellamo Smart Japanese-Style Bidet Toilet Seat
A quick and cost effective upgrade. This ‘smart’ toilet seat provides a bidet function as well as a heated seat, deodorising function and LED night light.
Metro Smart Toilet
Get the best of both worlds with its traditional bowl and cistern appearance. It includes a warm water bidet and a heated seat.
TOTO EK Washlet 2.0
The original toilet brand that became an international sensation. The entry-level EK offers a pre-mist, deodoriser, warm wash, adjustable seat temperature, and soft-close lid.
Grohe Sensia Arena Wall Hung
The most affordable of the Grohe line, it has a hidden cistern requiring the buildout of a wall or installation during renovation. Two adjustable spray heads are perfect for his and her bathrooms. Warm air dries you after use and the seat automatically opens and closes. You can even use your smartphone to remotely operate it.
Geberit AquaClean Mera Comforrt
Treat yourself to the ultimate bathroom experience. The remote is programmable to multiple users, so you can set your preferred stream intensity, heat levels, and even adjust the colour for better aim in the bowl.
Who to Hire to Install a Japanese Toilet in Your Home
So, you want a Japanese toilet, but your bathroom designer hesitated at the suggestion. Well, you just need to call a regular plumber and an electrician who is familiar with the fixture that you desire.
The plumbing connections are fairly straightforward, only needing an extra connection for the water spray. The electrician needs to connect the control panel, heating coil, and motion-activated hardware. This should be a simple task and shouldn’t require any additional circuits in your fuse board.
More and more British homes are adding Japanese toilets as their comfort and benefits become clear to anybody that has ever tried one. This means it is now easier to find contractors familiar with the installation practices.
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There you have it! The features, benefits and everything you need to know about Japanese toilets.
I hope this post has given you a good overview and understanding of Japanese toilets and all that they have to offer.
Is the future now? Will you be installing a Japanese toilet as part of your new bathroom renovation?
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Michael is a KBB designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom installations for over eight years now, and before that, he was an electrician and part of a KBB fitting team. He created The Bathroom Blueprint in early 2020.