Ok, toilets are a subject that spark the curiosity but nobody wants to ask about them, or maybe even write about them. But here it is–what you always wanted to know about Japanese toilets but were afraid to ask.
Well, I spent a whole 10 days in Japan. That does not make me an expert, of course! However, I DID experience both the traditional Japanese-style toilet facility AND the Western-style toilet facility.
Interestingly, at one tourist visitor site there was a sign pointing specifically to the “Western toilet” facility; I found that humorous. In a public restroom there are usually more stalls with the “trench” style toilet, as I term it, along with a few Western toilet stalls; but, relax! In my experience, all but one public place we visited had Western-style facilities. Either way, you would be smart to carry your own tissue paper just in case. You might also want to carry your own little hand towel because there is water to wash your hands but not necessarily a way to dry them. Let me add, though, when hand air dryers are available, they are powerful and work quite well.
So, no worries. In fact, the Western toilets are often deluxe models (especially in homes or hotels) with heated toilet seats. Moreover, there is a separate control panel attached to the toilet or nearby wall with push buttons for a variety of fun toilet activities. Unlike the boring, single U.S. flush handle, the control panel could have a button for making just the flushing sound. Of course, there’s the button for making the actual flush. Then there’s that novel button for bidet or shower, regular or super strength. Another type of toilet combo unit I saw had the toilet bowl with the hand-washing sink attached above the toilet tank so that when you flush the bowl, water simultaneously runs in the sink for hand washing.
Of course, the “trench” model is more difficult to use as one must squat. But if you must, don’t worry. The trench is plenty big and has a powerful flush feature.