The Tokyo Toilet
Photo: Satoshi Nagare, provided by The Nippon Foundation

This futuristic public toilet in Shibuya is completely hands-free

Designed by Kazoo Sato, this new voice-controlled toilet works in English and Japanese – and it can even play music

Tabea Greuner
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Tabea Greuner
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No, it’s not an alien spaceship – it’s Shibuya’s latest public toilet. This new, dome-shaped restroom is part of the Tokyo Toilet project, a line-up of stylish restrooms designed by some of Japan’s best architects and creative minds. This one is the brainchild of Kazoo Sato, chief creative officer at advertising agency TBWA/Hakuhodo.

The Tokyo Toilet
Photo: Satoshi Nagare, provided by The Nippon Foundation

Let’s face it: public toilets around the world don’t have the most sanitary reputation – usually with good reason. Especially during the pandemic, we’ve all has the awkward experience of using our feet to flush the toilet, or our hips and elbows to open and close doors. To tackle this problem, Sato created an innovative lavatory that’s entirely voice controlled, so you don’t have to worry about touching anything.

The Tokyo Toilet
Photo: Satoshi Nagare, provided by The Nippon Foundation

To activate the toilet, simply walk in and greet it with ‘hi, toilet’. It answers with a chime to show it’s ready for your commands. You’ll find a list of commands you can use in English and Japanese beside the toilet, including key phrases such as ‘open/close the door’ or ‘flush toilet’, and control phrases for the bidet. You’ll even find commands to play special music that’s apparently meant to stimulate bowel movement – or at least mask its more embarrassing sounds.

The Tokyo Toilet
Photo: Satoshi Nagare, provided by The Nippon Foundation

The hemispherical design isn’t just eye-catching. The ceiling goes up to 4 metres high, which encourages better air flow, so that unpleasant odors won’t linger in the cubicle.

The Tokyo Toilet
Photo: Satoshi Nagare, provided by The Nippon Foundation

This revolutionary restroom is definitely worth checking out for the technology and design alone, not to mention the convenience. The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, and you can find it in Shibuya’s Nanago Dori Park.

Check out the full list of Shibuya’s fancy new toilets.

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