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These Toilets in Tokyo Have Transparent Walls for a Reason

It solves problems many people have with restrooms. 
Toilets in Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park. Photo: Satoshi Nagare / The Nippon Foundation

At first glance, a restroom with transparent walls does not seem like such a good idea. But these ones that were recently installed in Japan don’t just look stylish and cool, they solve problems many people have with public toilets too.

On Aug. 5, multi-coloured toilets with transparent walls were added to the Haru-no-Ogawa Community Park and Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park in Tokyo as part of The Nippon Foundation’s The Tokyo Toilet project, an initiative that aims to make public toilets that anyone can use. The organization teamed up with a number of designers, including Shigeru Ban, a famous Japanese architect and designer known for his work with paper.


Ban came up with toilets with see-through walls that turn opaque when someone enters and locks the door. 


The toilets in Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park when the outer walls are opaque. Photo: Satoshi Nagare / The Nippon Foundation

According to The Nippon Foundation, making the walls see-through can solve at least two issues people have with using public toilets: hygiene and safety. Because the walls are transparent, people could easily see that the toilets are clean and that no one is hiding inside. The restrooms also light up at night.


Toilets in Haru-no-Ogawa Community Park. Photo: Satoshi Nagare / The Nippon Foundation

Many people were confused about the toilet at first but eventually learned to appreciate the unique design.

“I thought it was a new toilet still being built, but apparently, once you lock the doors, you can’t see anything. This is awesome. I wonder if it's to prevent crimes in Shibuya,” one netizen said. “Scared it might suddenly become transparent when we’re inside if there are any technical changes.”

“I just went to visit the transparent restroom, apparently when you lock the door people from outside can’t see inside.”

The Tokyo Toilet project aims to create a total of 17 toilets in the Shibuya ward area that anyone can use comfortably, regardless of sex, age, or disability. Also open to the public in Ebisu Park is a toilet with 15 concrete walls designed by Masamichi Katayama.


The toilet in Ebisu Park during the day. Photo: Satoshi Nagare / The Nippon Foundation


The toilet in Ebisu Park at night. Photo: Satoshi Nagare / The Nippon Foundation

A total of 16 creators are part of the initiative and all restrooms will be built by the summer of 2021.

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