The Japanese Toilet is gaining great recognition all over the world and foreign medias are talking about it. Tourists from other countries are amazed by the Japanese Toilet’s various functions and some even bring it home as souvenirs! In this article, we would like to talk about the history of the Japanese Toilet.

The History of the Japanese Toilet

How did the Japanese toilet developed? Let’s find out by looking at its history!

Jomon Period~Nara Period

The toilet in this period was still not equipped and so many did their business in rivers. 「厠(Kawaya)」は「川屋(Kawaya)」, meaning toilet, was said to be the origin of the idea of toilets. They do not only do their business everywhere. The place to pee and so on was decided in a certain spot.

Heian Period (The First Half)


In this period, a potty called「樋箱(Hibako)」was used. The Hibako had various designs and materials. They were also women who are in charge of cleaning this toilet.

Heian Period(The Last Half)

In this period, the「ぼっとんトイレ Botton Toilet」was equipped for the upper classes. The development of the toilet in this period was only seen in the upper classes. Commoners still had to do their business outside.

Kamakura Period~Edo Period

In this period, the development of the toilet is slowly improving. Also, in these days, the excrement was also used as a fertilizer, especially of the upper classes because they are rich with nutrients. The excrement were traded in a high price. Furthermore, toilets were equipped in row houses and one toilet was used by many commoners.

Meiji Period( year 1887)

The western-style toilet was introduced to Japan. In Japan, it was a first time to construct the sewers and a western-style toilet was equipped in foreign settlements.

Meiji Period( year 1902)

In this year, Japanese toilets with flush was equipped in the Imperial Hotel.

Showa Period( year 1960)

In this year, a complex construction in Japan Housing Corp. was held and the toilet that was built were mostly western-style toilets. The diffusion rate of the western-style toilet increased in this year.

The Development of the「Multifunctional Toilet」

  • In 1980, the TOTO「ウォシュレット wash toilet」made its appearance and introduced toilet functions, such as the bidet, dryer and heat function.
  • In 1988 to 1992, a sensor is attached on the toilet seats and a toilet with deodorizing function was also made. Moreover, a function that makes a sound effect called the「音姫 Otohime」was also sold in this time.
  • since year 2011, a toilet that releases a water to prevent germs was created.
  • In 2013, a toilet people can control with their phone was created.


What did you think of this topic? The history of the Japanese toilet is long and has improved greatly in the past few years. Everyday, the toilets keep on improving to give the people better life. It is exciting how much the toilets will improve more in the future!