It’s no secret that Japan has some of the most advanced toilets in the world. They respond to your voice, they heat your bum and, of course, they wash you. But convincing the rest of the world to equip their homes with washlets has been a difficult task. The hefty price tag is one thing but an even greater barrier seems to be simply cultural differences.
So to overcome these differences TOTO, the largest toilet manufacturer in Japan (and the world!) decided to place a toilet gallery in the first place foreigners come to when they visit Japan: the airport.
“For Americans here in the US, the biggest issues are personal experience with these products and a major reluctance to discuss bathroom issues or change ingrained habits,” says Steve Scheer the President of a toilet startup trying to crack open this market. “You wouldn’t imagine how many people giggle nervously or say ‘gross’ when we try to educate them about the advantages of the bidet seat, yet these are the same people that are still using paper – a much inferior way to cleanse oneself.”
But TOTO is trying to change this perception by getting visitors to experience their toilets first hand at the airport. Beginning April 24, 2015 anyone, whether you’re arriving, departing, or just seeing someone off, will be able to experience TOTO’s state-of-the-art toilets.
Located in Terminal 2 in the Narita Sky Lounge, the gallery features a total of 10 rooms: four stall rooms each for men and women, as well as one nursing room and one multi-purpose room. TOTO enlisted Tokyo-based Klein-Dytham Architects to create the engaging space, each with its own different type of toilet and theme.
“Gallery TOTO is a place where you can experience elements of Japanese culture that are often difficult to explain in words,” says the company. “This project represents our desire to have the world learn more about Japan.”