A couple of years ago my child visited Japan as part of an exchange program. Our high schoolers were taught about the landscape, traditions, and living arrangements of their host country. One of the things they were prepared for was the difference in home sizes and bathing customs.

Though smaller than the average home in the U.S., there are many features in a Japanese home that are remarkably sophisticated and efficient. Space is at a premium, so houses and apartments try to make the best of it. As a first time visitor, you’d be pleasantly awed and confused at the same time!

The bathroom is one of the places where you will see big differences between homes in the West and homes in Japan. In this special video by Life Where I’m From, we’re given a tour of a bathroom space in a modern Japanese home. The cutest little tour guide ever, Aiko, shows us a few awesome things about the bathroom and how they function.

  1. Three-in-One

    First, we’re shown that within one bathroom, there are separate compartments for the sink area, tub, and toilet. Aiko tells us that 3 people can actually use it at one time, because there are doors to separate each booth-type area that allow for privacy. Someone can use the toilet while another person is taking a bath, and another is brushing their teeth.

  2. Sink Wand

    The large sink has a sprayer that can be latched onto a hook for bathing babies or pets, or for washing up.

  3. Sit-and-Wash

    japanese bath stoolLife Where I'm From

    In the tub area is a stool with its own sprayer, similar to what you’d find in a shower. A bucket for pouring water is available as you wash. Both are used for bathing/washing the entire body.

  4. Water Liberal

    The floor has special drains for water to flow into, so it’s totally okay to spray it everywhere.

  5. Bathe in Luxury

    Since bath water is shared communally among families, scrubbing up with the sprayer and some soap is done before stepping into the tub. The bath is reserved for relaxing! Guests are treated to bathing first. Aiko demonstrates that powder can be added to the bath water for a nice soak.

  6. Digital Temp

    japanese bath dialsLife Where Im From

    The bath water temperature can be adjusted with a digital dial on the wall. Who else wants one?

  7. The Help Button

    There’s a button to call for emergency help if you slip or injure yourself in the bathtub.

  8. Service Button

    Need a towel or dish of chocolates? A phone icon button enables you to call for service— meaning Mom or Dad in this case!

  9. Kitchen Remote

    That fancy temperature control panel to adjust the bath water? There’s also one in the kitchen— for the bath to be warmed up remotely!

  10. Water Reuse

    Keeping it eco-friendly, there’s a hose that connects the in-bathroom washing machine to the tub. The bath water can then be pumped and used for laundry.

  11. Clothes Dryer

    japanese bath clothesLife Where Im From

    Clothes can be hung on a rod above the tub to dry— and not air dry either! There is another dial that turns on a fan for drying clothes in the bathroom.

  12. Toilet Quarantine

    One last note from Aiko was that toilet odors are kept in their realm and do not waft through the rest of the bathroom. There’s also a sink that sits on top of the toilet tank, making it convenient to wash your hands.


It’s interesting to see how others live around the world. To foreigners, this setup might seem strange, but you might find yourself liking features such as the waterproof flooring and heated tub. What do you think of this tech-friendly bathroom? Would you mind sharing the space with your family? Tell us in the comments!