How to Say Restroom in Japanese

How to Say Restroom in Japanese

When traveling to Japan, it is important to be familiar with basic Japanese phrases to navigate through daily activities. One of the most crucial phrases to know is how to ask for the restroom. In this article, we will explore various ways to say restroom in Japanese and provide some frequently asked questions about this topic.

1. Toire (トイレ)
The most common and widely used term for restroom in Japanese is “toire.” This word is borrowed from the English language, so it is relatively easy to remember and pronounce. You can use this term to ask for the restroom in any setting, whether it be at a restaurant, shopping mall, or in public places.

Example sentence: すみません、トイレはどこですか?(Sumimasen, toire wa doko desu ka?) – Excuse me, where is the restroom?

2. Otearai (お手洗い)
Another polite way to refer to the restroom in Japanese is using the term “otearai.” This term is slightly more formal and is commonly used in formal settings such as hotels, traditional Japanese restaurants, or when speaking to someone older or in a higher position.

Example sentence: お手洗いはどこですか?(Otearai wa doko desu ka?) – Where is the restroom?

3. Benjo (便所)
The word “benjo” is a more casual and colloquial term for restroom in Japanese. It is commonly used in everyday conversations and may be heard among friends or in informal settings. However, it is important to note that using this term in formal situations or when speaking to someone of higher authority may be considered impolite.

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Example sentence: すみません、便所はどこですか?(Sumimasen, benjo wa doko desu ka?) – Excuse me, where is the restroom?

4. Keshō-shitsu (化粧室)
In some places, especially in larger department stores or fancy establishments, you may come across the term “keshō-shitsu.” This term refers specifically to the restroom designated for women to freshen up or do their makeup. Be mindful of the signs indicating whether the restroom is for men (dansei) or women (josei).

Example sentence: 女性用の化粧室はどこですか?(Josei-yō no keshō-shitsu wa doko desu ka?) – Where is the women’s restroom?


Q: Are restrooms easily accessible in Japan?
A: Yes, restrooms are easily accessible in Japan. You can find them in almost all public places, including train stations, shopping centers, restaurants, and tourist attractions. Signs indicating restrooms are typically labeled with the word “トイレ” or “お手洗い.”

Q: Are public restrooms free in Japan?
A: Most public restrooms in Japan are free of charge. However, in some places, particularly in train stations or certain tourist spots, you may come across some restrooms that require a small fee. These facilities are usually well-maintained and equipped with modern amenities.

Q: Are there any cultural etiquette to follow when using restrooms in Japan?
A: Yes, there are a few cultural etiquettes to keep in mind when using restrooms in Japan. Firstly, it is customary to take off your shoes before entering a restroom. Secondly, many restrooms in Japan provide slippers specifically for restroom use, so make sure to change into them before entering. Lastly, it is common practice to clean up after yourself and leave the restroom in a clean state for the next person.

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Q: Can I find Western-style toilets in Japan?
A: Yes, Japan offers a variety of toilet styles, including Western-style toilets with sitting bowls. However, you may also encounter traditional Japanese-style toilets, known as “washiki” or “squat toilets,” especially in older establishments or public areas. Familiarize yourself with both types to ensure a smooth restroom experience.

In conclusion, knowing how to ask for the restroom in Japanese is essential when visiting Japan. Whether you use “toire,” “otearai,” “benjo,” or “keshō-shitsu,” make sure to choose the appropriate term based on the situation and level of formality. Additionally, being aware of restroom etiquette and the various types of toilets commonly found in Japan will enhance your overall travel experience.

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