Tokyo debuts unusual public restrooms: ‘Nicer than the one in my apartment’

Japan is known for being ahead of the curve when it comes to tech, so it’s unsurprising that Tokyo’s new see-through public restrooms are drawing crowds in the city.

The Tokyo Toilet Project, an initiative supported by the government, created the sci-fi bathrooms that were originally meant to debut at the since-rescheduled Summer Olympics.

Footage provided by Newsflare shows the boxy, translucent and colorful restrooms. Each one is a different color: yellow, red or purple. When a user goes inside and switches the lock to occupied, the transparent color becomes opaque. When it the facility is unoccupied you can see clearly inside.

“There are two things we worry about when entering a public restroom, especially those located at a park,” Shigeru Ban, one of the designers, stated. “The first is cleanliness and the second is whether anyone is inside.”

Ban is one of 16 world-renowned architects that were recruited to design the washrooms. Japan’s public restroom initiative was meant to address its lofty tourism goals and the recent uptick in foreign travelers.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s goal was 40 million inbound tourists in 2020, which was undermined by the pandemic. But it sounds like the locals are enjoying the new facilities nonetheless.

“I’ve never seen a toilet like this anywhere in the world,” Yuki Kikuchi told CBC. “At first, I didn’t think this was an actual toilet people could use. It’s nicer than the one in my apartment.”

As of right now, the bathrooms are located in two Tokyo parks Haru-no-Ogawa Community Park and Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park.

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