Japan-based Nippon Foundation has launched its Tokyo Toilet Project to design and build new, inclusive public toilets at 17 different locations throughout the Shibuya district of Tokyo. Starting August 5, 2020, three of the toilets have become available, with the rest to follow.
Japan, regardless of its reputation as one of the world’s most hygienic countries, still holds a negative stigma among its residents when it comes to public toilets. The Nippon Foundation hopes to dispel these misconceptions that public bathrooms are always dark, dirty, smelly or scary by actively renovating public toilets in Shibuya, Tokyo in cooperation with the local government. The project is equally engaged in fostering community inclusivity with designs for male, female and nonbinary restrooms.
The toilets are designed by leading creators with advanced technologies to make them accessible for all people, regardless of gender, age or disability. The company has also arranged for ongoing maintenance so that users feel more comfortable knowing that the public facilities will remain clean.
The facilities available starting August 5 include Ebisu Park, Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park and Haru-no-Ogawa Community Park. In the case of Haru-no-Ogawa, the designers used a new technology to build the outer walls with a type of glass that becomes opaque when the door is closed. In the evenings once the sun goes down, the structures light up like a lantern, adding to the beautification of the community park.
For Ebisu Park, the facilities are meant to mimic early Japanese toilets, or kawaya, that were built over rivers dating back to the prehistoric Jomon period. The construction uses 15 concrete walls to mimic the ambiguous space, appearance and atmosphere of early kawaya. Spaces between the walls lead users to the toilets.
Images by Satoshi Nagare courtesy of The Nippon Foundation