1. The Tokyo Toilet
    Photo: Satoshi Nagare, provided by The Nippon Foundation
  2. Shibuya Toilet Sou Fujimoto
    Photo: Keisuke TanigawaThe Tokyo Toilet: Nishisando by Sou Fujimoto
  3. The Tokyo Toilet
    Photo: Satoshi Nagare, provided by The Nippon FoundationHiroo East Park by Tomohito Ushiro
  4. The Tokyo Toilet
    Photo: Satoshi Nagare, provided by The Nippon FoundationThe Tokyo Toilet: Sasazuka Greenway by Junko Kobayashi
  5. The Tokyo Toilet
    Photo: Satoshi Nagare; provided by Nippon FoundationThe Tokyo Toilet
  6. The Tokyo Toilet
    Photo: Satoshi Nagare, provided by The Nippon Foundation
  7. The Tokyo Toilet
    Photo: Satoshi Nagare; provided by Nippon Foundation

These are Tokyo's most amazing public toilets, designed by Japan's top architects and creatives

These stunning designer toilets by Shigeru Ban, Kengo Kuma, Sou Fujimoto, Tadao Ando and more scattered across Shibuya

Tabea Greuner
Written by
Tabea Greuner
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Shibuya is rapidly transforming into a hip shopping paradise – think Shibuya Scramble Square with its Shibuya Sky observation deck, the glitzy Parco department store, and Miyashita Park with its rooftop garden. Sure, those buildings are beautiful, but if you really want to see some cutting-edge design, check out Shibuya's series of designer public toilets.

In cooperation with Shibuya’s local government, the Nippon Foundation launched a project called The Tokyo Toilet, which focuses on replacing 17 public toilets in Shibuya with modern, accessible structures. The facilities are designed by 16 of Japan’s foremost creatives and architects including Sou Fujimoto, Shigeru Ban, Tadao Ando and Kengo Kuma.

Read on for the city's most fancy loos, and click here for a map showing its exact locations.

RECOMMENDED: 50 best things to do in Shibuya

Lavish lavatories

NEW: Sasazuka Greenway by Junko Kobayashi

Gondola Architects CEO Junko Kobayashi can literally be called a specialist toilet designer. Over the past 37 years, her company has been involved in the design of over 250 public toilets with her latest addition being this one-of-a-kind composition of weathering steel cylinders topped by a yellow disc. Located under Sasazuka Station, the distinctive structure contains a men’s and women’s toilet, a multipurpose cubicle, plus a pair of children’s toilets. To add to the playful exterior design, Kobayashi added bunny motifs across the facility, installed in round holes that have been cut into the steel. There’s also a water fountain and mirrors at kids’ height.

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, is equipped with a high chair for babies, and boasts equipment for the elderly, pregnant women and nursing mothers. Two toilets for children are available as well.

Find it at: 1-29 Sasazuka, Shibuya

NEW: Nishisando by Sou Fujimoto

Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto’s public toilet design is inspired by a large water vessel, featuring an organic shape and open-air theme. The recessed centre functions as a communal wash basin with taps installed at different heights, making it easily accessible to everyone. The white exterior symbolises cleanliness, while the small tree emerging from the bent basin reminds visitors of the importance of water in connecting all living beings. 

Toilet cubicles for men and women are installed in the facility’s centre, while a multipurpose toilet can be found on the left side. Good news for dads: Fujimoto installed a high chair for babies in the men’s cubicle as well. 

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, is equipped with a high chair for babies, and boasts equipment for the elderly, pregnant women and nursing mothers. 

Find it at: 3-27-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya

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NEW: Hatagaya by Miles Pennington

Miles Pennington, professor of design-led innovation at the University of Tokyo, created this stunning public toilet together with the university’s DLX Design Lab. The structure doubles as a community space and can be used as a cinema, gallery, pop-up store, meeting place and more. The white walls are perfect for exhibiting artworks or showing movies, with the ceiling housing a number of light features and hooks. The roofed, multi-functional space contains an adaptable bench system, which can be rearranged based on the event.

The multipurpose space is outfitted with three toilet cubicles, one for male visitors and two accessible unisex ones.

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, is equipped with a high chair for babies, and boasts equipment for the elderly, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Find it at: 3-37-8 Hatagaya, Shibuya

NEW: Hiroo East Park by Tomohito Ushiro

This creation from Tomohito Ushiro, CEO and creative director of White Design, resembles a piece of public art. Located in Hiroo East Park, the structure is surrounded by greenery and home to two multipurpose toilets. The concrete exterior may not look spectacular from the front, but it’s equipped with a stunning feature at the back. A massive light panel has been installed, alternating between 7.9 billion different lighting patterns – the same as the Earth’s population. Green light is used during the day, with patterns resembling sunlight filtering through the tree leaves, while soft white light at night reminds one of moonlight or dancing fireflies.

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, is equipped with a high chair for babies, and boasts equipment for the elderly, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Find it at: 4-2-27 Hiroo, Shibuya

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NEW: Urasando by Marc Newson

Industrial designer Marc Newson’s public toilet is based on vernacular Japanese architecture, complete with a stone wall and a copper minoko roof, which is traditionally used for shrine and temple buildings. The structure is under a highway overpass and flanked by two streets; its traditional design, however, creates a sense of comfort and peacefulness amid this busy area.

The luminescent and seamless interior with its subtle green colour turns the public toilet into a bright and safe space. The building focuses on functionality and simplicity, and has three cubicles: a men’s, women’s and multipurpose toilet. 

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, is equipped with a high chair for babies, and boasts equipment for the elderly, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Find it at: 4-28-1 Sendagaya, Shibuya

Nabeshima Shoto Park by Kengo Kuma

Starchitect Kengo Kuma, famous for his use of exposed wooden beams, came up with this stunning design for the public toilet in Shibuya’s Nabeshima Shoto Park. The five separate ‘huts’ are clad in 240 Yoshino cedar planks and connected by a little path to make the entire structure feel like a walk in the woods.

Each building boasts a distinct interior design tailored for different needs. Besides a fully accessible restroom and another gender-neutral restroom, you will also find a toilet exclusively for children, as well as two separate urinals – a unisex version and one for men. Each toilet’s interior features more wood, such as reused cherry and metasequoia wood decorating the walls in the gender-neutral lavatory.

The accessible toilet is equipped for wheelchair users and ostomates, has a high chair for babies, and is designed to accommodate the elderly, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Find it at: 2-10-7 Shoto, Shibuya

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Nanago Dori Park by Kazoo Sato

This dome-shaped lavatory was created by chief creative officer Kazoo Sato of advertising agency TBWA/Hakuhodo. Especially lately, we’ve all been in the awkward position of wishing we could use a public toilet without touching anything. To tackle this problem, Sato created an innovative lavatory that’s entirely voice controlled.

You’ll find a list of commands in English and Japanese next to the toilet. To activate the toilet, simply greet it with ‘hi, toilet’. It reacts with a chime, meaning it’s ready for your commands. The line-up of phrases it understands ranges from ‘open/close the door’ and ‘flush toilet’ to those controlling 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 eye-catching hemispherical design isn’t just for show; the high ceiling means air flow can be better controlled, so unpleasant odors won’t hang around.

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates.

Find it at: 2-53-5 Hatagaya, Shibuya

Ebisu Station, West Exit by Kashiwa Sato

Creative director Kashiwa Sato was in charge of revamping the public toilet in front of Ebisu Station’s bustling west exit. Sato focused on a bright, clean design, emphasised by a white exterior, to give it a modern look. The aluminium louvres add a sense of lightness that makes the building blend in naturally with the urban cityscape. The outer wall creates a corridor that runs in a U shape around the rectangular block. Inside, you’ll find five gender neutral restrooms.

Sato came up with the brand strategies for Uniqlo and Rakuten, as well as the logo design and signage for the National Art Center, Tokyo. He was also in charge of designing the pictograms on all the lavatories in The Tokyo Toilet project. 

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, is equipped with a high chair for babies, and boasts equipment for the elderly, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Find it at: 1-5-8 Ebisu-minami, Shibuya

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Yoyogi-Hachiman by Toyo Ito

This quirky lavatory design is the brainchild of architect Toyo Ito, winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The set of three toilets resembles a trio of mushrooms, designed to harmonise with the woodland in the background, which is home to Yoyogi-Hachiman Shrine. The facility boasts a calm and welcoming atmosphere, with bands of pale pastel tiles decorating the exterior. The three cylindrical blocks are connected by a path that’s illuminated after dark.

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, and is equipped with a high chair for babies.

Find it at: 5-1-2 Yoyogi, Shibuya

Jingumae by Nigo

This small, cottage-style structure has been designed by fashion designer and creative director Nigo, best known as the creator of fashion labels A Bathing Ape and Human Made. Amidst Tokyo’s constantly changing skyline of cutting-edge high rises, Nigo decided to create a cosy place that reminds you of home, standing on a quiet corner in Harajuku. Some visitors may feel nostalgic about the design, but there’s something unmistakeably contemporary about it, too.

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, and is equipped with high chairs for babies.

Find it at: 1-3-14 Jingumae, Shibuya

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Jingu-Dori Park by Tadao Ando

Legendary self-taught Japanese architect Tadao Ando, famous for his impressive concrete structures, took inspiration for his public toilet from azumaya, wooden pavilions with eaves. The unique cylindrical structure, located midway between Harajuku and Shibuya stations, is accessible from two sides through a passageway covered by a latticed wall. The eaves not only protect you from rain but also create an engawa, a traditional porch-like space surrounding the building. In spring, you’ll find Ando’s creation surrounded by blooming cherry trees. 

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, and is equipped with high chairs for babies.

Find it at: 6-22-8 Jingumae, Shibuya

Japanese starchitect Shigeru Ban was entrusted with designing two locations, and one of them is this see-through structure with walls that turn opaque as soon as the doors are locked.

Transparency isn’t really a feature you look for in a public toilet, but Ban’s design aims to tackle the age-old problem of being able to tell how clean a public toilet is – not to mention whether it’s occupied – before you go inside. Colour-wise, the modern building's bright jewel tones harmonise well with the surroundings, and at night the structure transforms into a massive fancy lantern. 

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, and is equipped with a high chair for babies.

Find it at: 5-68-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya

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Nishihara Itchome Park by Takenosuke Sakakura

This creation by Japanese architect Takenosuke Sakakura, representative director and chairman of Sakakura Associates, is the only toilet on this list that features two unisex cabins next to the standard accessible version. The facility has light green frosted glass walls and bright green coloured doors to match its park location – the walls are even imprinted with tree patterns. Unlike the dimly lit public toilets you often find in parks, Sakakura’s building doubles as a massive lantern come evening. 

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, and is equipped with a high chair for babies.

Find it at: 1-29-1 Nishihara, Shibuya

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Ebisu Park by Masamichi Katayama

The lead architect at Wonderwall, Masamichi Katayama came up with this stunning design by finding inspiration in kawaya, Japan’s early toilets from the Jomon period (10,000-6,000 BCE). Kawaya were simple huts made from hardened soil and wood, positioned over rivers.

Katayama’s modern interpretation evokes a kawaya’s simple appearance and atmosphere, turning this public lavatory into a space that serves as both an object and a toilet. The building is made from 15 concrete walls, creating a maze-like space with pathways leading to three separated toilets – for men, women and anyone. Users are encouraged to interact with the facility as they would with any other element at the park, such as a playground or bench.

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, and is equipped with a baby chair.

Find it at: 1-19-1 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya

Higashi Sanchome by Nao Tamura

The design of this bright red bathroom, created by designer Nao Tamura, was inspired by origata, a traditional Japanese art of gift wrapping which involves folding a single sheet of paper multiple times. Even though Tamura had only a narrow, triangular patch of land along the railway line to work with, she was able to incorporate three differently-sized bathrooms.

The concept represents Shibuya ward’s hospitality towards its domestic and international visitors. While living in New York, Tamura developed a strong affinity for the LGBTQ+ community, and she says the structure is part of her vision for a society that embraces each individual equally, which is why the block includes separate bathrooms for men, women, and everyone. Shibuya is the perfect location for such a progressive design, as it’s the first ward in Tokyo that recognised same-sex marriages in 2015, as well as being the site of the annual Tokyo Rainbow Pride festival.

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, and is equipped with a high chair for babies.

Find it at: 3-27-1 Higashi, Shibuya

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Ebisu East Park by Fumihiko Maki

Architect Fumihiko Maki’s creation is set in Ebisu East Park, which is commonly known as Octopus Park, thanks to its octopus-shaped playground equipment. The toilet has accordingly been nicknamed the Squid Toilet, although there’s nothing marine about it.

The translucent glass structure does double duty as both a toilet and a rest area, and its undulating roof makes it look like a chic glass pavilion. With its decentralised, clean and bright layout, it’s a comfortable space filled with natural light.

The toilet is accessible for wheelchair users and ostomates, is equipped with a high chair for babies, and boasts equipment for the elderly, pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Find it at: 1-2-16 Ebisu, Shibuya

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