How to Use a Japanese Electronic Toilet – Features & Function Guide

How to Use a Japanese Electronic Toilet

Japanese electronic toilets, or washlets, are known for their functionality and space-age control panel, which can be intimidating to the uninitiated. And as they become the topic for visitors and residents alike, it’s safe to say that “toilets” are as synonymous with Japanese culture as ninja, sushi, and Mount Fuji.

While referred to as “washlet” in the West, “washlet” (ウォシュレット うぉしゅれっと/ woshuretto) is the registered trademark of TOTO, a leading manufacturer of Japanese electronic toilets. The proper name is “cleansing toilet seat” (温水洗浄便座  / おんすい せんじょう べんざ /  onsui senjou benza).

A basic Japanese electronic toilet consists of a remotely controlled bidet, activated by a panel on the wall or on a toilet’s armrest. Bidets are not exclusive to Japan; in fact you can find them in various regions of the world. However, manufacturers such as TOTO have taken toilets and bathroom etiquette to the next level.

*** How to Use a Japanese Electronic Toilet ***

Among the many features of a Japanese electronic toilet are:

  • Seat warming
  • Deodorizer
  • Courtesy music
  • Adjust water temperature
  • Adjust water pressure
  • Dryer
  • Sensors that open and close the lid automatically
  • Energy saving mode
  • Water conservation mode
  • Automatic flush
  • Nozzle clean

Functions vary by model and manufacturer. This guide introduces several types of control panels that you may see in restaurants, malls, businesses, train stations, homes, and hotels throughout Japan.

The control panels of Japanese electronic toilets typically use icons to depict each function. Alternatively, English text may displayed.

*** How to Use a Japanese Electronic Toilet ***

Basic Functions











Japanese Hiragana Romanji English
運転 うんてん unten Power On
流す ながす nagasu Flush
だい dai Large Flush
しょう shou Light Flush
止まる とまる tomaru Stop
おしり oshiri Rear
ビデ びで bide Bidet
いり iri On
きり kiri Off    
水勢 すいせい suisei Water pressure
きょう kyou Adjust water pressure (High)
じゃく jaku Adjust water pressure (Low)


Note On / Off may also be displayed as  入/切

*** How to Use a Japanese Electronic Toilet ***

Useful Functions











English Japanese Hiragana Romanji
Seat Warmer 便座 べんざ benza
Warm Water 温水 おんすい onsui
Energy Saving Mode 節電中 せつでん setuden chuu
Nozzle clean ノズルきれい のずるきれい nozuru kirei
*** How to Use a Japanese Electronic Toilet ***

Advanced Functions

How to Use a Japanese Electronic Toilet - Useful Toilet Items for Baby










English Japanese / Katakana Hiragana Romanji
Nozzle position 位置 いち ichi
To adjust nozzle (Front) ぜん  zen
To adjust nozzle (Back) go
Massage マッサージ まっさーじ massa-ji
Pulsation ムーブ むーぶ mu-bu
Deodorizer 脱臭 だっしゅ dasshu
パワー脱臭 ぱわーだっしゅ pawa- dasshu
Dryer 乾燥 かんそう kansou
Temperature 温度 おんど ondo
Menu メニュー めにゅー menyu-
OK/Menu confirmation 決定 けってい kettei
*** How to Use a Japanese Electronic Toilet ***

Japanese Public Toilets

There may be a panel/button to activate a “courtesy” sound of flushing water.


Courtesy sound 流水音 りゅうすいおん ryuusui on

The Japanese text reads:

When you push the button, the sound of running water will play for 20 seconds. Push again to extend the length of the sound.

すいっち を おす と りゅうすいおん が にじゅうびょう ながれます。さいど おす と えんちょう します。

Suicchi wo osu to ryuusui on ga ni jyuu byou nagaremasu. Saido osu to enchou shimasu.


If no lever is present, there may also be a button or sensor to manually flush the toilet.
















The Japanese text at the top reads:

In the event of a blackout, push the button. The toilet will flush.


ていでんじ は おしぼたん を おしてください。みず が ながれます。

Teiden ji ha oshi botan wo oshite kudasai.  Mizu ga nagaremasu.

The Japanese text at the bottom reads:

Place your hand over the sensor. The toilet will flush.


て を つかづけて ください。みず が ながれます。

Te wo chika dzukete kudasai. Mizu ga nagaremasu.

*** How to Use a Japanese Electronic Toilet ***


– Some older public toilets might not have toilet paper. Always carry some tissue with you.
– The Bidet is used for women only.
To stop the stream or spray, press the 止 button firmly.



Teach your child the “flush” kanji. Our kids have run out of the stall with a stream of water up their back because they accidentally pressed the bidet function.




How to Use a Japanese Electronic Toilet – Features & Function Guide


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