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The Japanese Toilet or the Ben Jo Experience

by Tina Dudley on July 23, 2013

in Japan, What's New


Ah this is a blog of immense awaking to the art of using a toilet. Not to gross you out or give away too many personal details. But I have often wondered if having a biday would enhance my life and make certain things in my life more comfortable. The answer is YES.

I was extremely intimidated with the Japanese toilets as they have lots of buttons and functions on them. You just don’t sit and do your business .You have a toilet experience.   After having the great honour of using the Japanese toilet, I prefer the western style toilet with all the bells and I do mean bells or music. Rather than the Japanese squat toilet called the ben jo. There are many buttons on the remote for the toilet and yes there is a remote. You can push a button to play music or make a flushing sound to camouflage any sounds you wish not to have broadcasted to the world while conducting your business. This would have come in handy at the Bush Inn Centre as they were many complaints of no music in the bathroom and everyone could hear what was going on in each stall. Had I known then what I know now I could have fixed that problem.

The second thing I noticed is the seat is warm. On a hot day the last thing you want or need is a warm toilet seat. I look forward to winter and not having bathroom shock when I sit down to use the toilet. In New Zealand most bathrooms are extremely cold. So I look forward to the winter.

The third thing I noticed is the music button. I have been caught off guard more than once by accidently hitting the music button. I half expect God Save New Zealand to play or God Bless America but so far just an electric sounding music or a weird flushing sound. This comes in handy if you are in the bathroom taking pictures to post on your blog. I think people thought, I was a stupid American and what could I possibly be taking pictures of in the stall. I like to share but maybe not that much.

Then the biday feature ahhhhh,  I have long been curious of how this type of toilet could change my life. So for research purposes only I decided I need to give the biday a try. I am now and forever a changed woman.

I have a few tips for you if you decide you want to give a biday a go. First thing do not try to take of look at what is going on while bidaying. It ends badly. Second do not push the buttons without sitting on the toilet, this floods the bathroom and gets the walls wet. Third be careful how you sit on the toilet while bidaying, as you could get violated in a way that catches you by surprise. This may turn a lovely warm biday into a not so nice soothing experience.

My favourite bathroom in Japan has pink bathroom tissues to use to finish the toilet experience. The bathroom tissues in Japan are not the soft plush kind as in the states or in New Zealand but the Grando  ( The name of the department store where my favourite toilet is,  not name of the toilet) has pink paper so I am still impressed.

While I have enjoyed the Japanese western toilets, I am still put off by the actual Japanese style toilet the ben jo. This toilet you need to squat over and require balance strength and coordination and let’s just face it. I have none of those strengths. We all know it will end badly, so I have not even tried it as of yet.  Going to the toilet while camping, always ended badly usually with me up against a tree trying to do my business and me ending up with poison ivy rash on my back. Then I would have to explain to everyone, how I got that rash on my back. So to avoid an embarrassing situation I will pass for as long as I can.

The last sensible accessory to the Japanese toilet is that most has a baby seat in the stall to place infant in so mum can have a hands free toilet experience. This is ingenious and should be required everywhere. If you are planning on sending The Duchess of Cambridge a gift this would be a great gift for her. This concludes my Japanese toileting experience. You have to experience it to appreciate it as much as I do.