How to find public restrooms in Tokyo

The Holy Grail

Finding bathrooms in Tokyo is a lot easier than finding them in America, that’s for sure! Here are three surefire places to find them, wherever the urge makes itself known.

Train Stations

Scan the overhead signs for the bathroom icons (in internationally recognizable pink/red and blue) and follow them to the nice, clean, modern facilities. Note: They are often (but not always) inside the ticket gates, so it’s best to be looking before you exit, or on lines you intend to board.

Most train station bathrooms are nice and clean, and even the older ones that are still outfitted with Japanese squat toilets also offer a Western style one in the stall at the end

Convenience Stores

Every convenience store (like 7-11, Lawson, Family Mart, and Ministop) has a single public toilet in it, for use by anyone who needs it. It’s polite to buy something, but not required. It’s usually situated at the back of the store, in the farthest corner from the entrance. Note: These are unisex, and sometimes the wait can be quite long, as people who are out and about for their jobs all day (like delivery people) are in no hurry to leave.

Department Stores

Fashion-oriented department stores (like Mitsukoshi, Isetan, Odakyu and Matsuya) and smaller speciality department stores (like Loft, Tokyu Hands, and Don Kihote) all have bathrooms on every floor. They’re usually in the far corner from the entrance, but all are clearly marked with overhead signs. Electronics emporiums (like LABI, Bic Camera and Yodobashi) have bathrooms on every floor in the more spacious locations, and bathrooms on some floors in the more cramped ones. Overhead signs are your friend.

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 For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

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Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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