The Japanese Bathroom Feature That’ll Make Your Space Feel So Fancy

published Dec 14, 2023
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Credit: Carina Romano

One of the many perks of being a travel writer is that I experience luxurious bathrooms around the globe. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in rooms with everything from freestanding tubs made of volcanic rock to elaborate rain showers with a plethora of soothing settings. These additions are pampering to experience while I’m traveling, but they aren’t convenient — or honestly, affordable — for me to include in my home.

Although lavish amenities are nice to have during a hotel stay, it was something simpler that caught my attention at Lake Nona Wave Hotel in Orlando: A heated toilet seat. I consider it an upgrade I never realized I needed. However, after years of having a chilly throne for perching my posterior, a warm seat was an elevated experience that’s not as commonplace in the U.S. as it should be.

Although I haven’t checked Japan off my destination bucket list yet, it’s well-known that Japanese tech is innovative, and their privies are just as cutting-edge. As a nomad, Veronica Hansen currently resides in Tokyo and is intimately familiar with its creature comforts. “Bathrooms in Japan have the most amazing toilet seats,” she says while noting features like warmers and built-in bidets

Another convenience is that toilets play music from the moment you sit down until after the potty is flushed. “You’ve got a warm bum, clean bum, and privacy from anybody hearing you,” Hansen adds. So while you and I may not be able to afford the TOTO Neorest Smart Toilet as I experienced in Florida — it can set you back anywhere from $7,000 to $20,000 — you can get away with a few simple additions to elevate time spent on the latrine. Here’s how.

Add a spraying feature. 

Bidets are designed to wash your more private parts and are prevalent throughout Europe and Asia. Although they are often separate from the toilet, adding a sprayer to your existing throne is a simple way to replicate the functionality of a bidet. 

The TUSHY Spa 3.0 includes a hose and a temperature-controlled bidet system that easily attaches to your toilet. All you need is easy access to your sink and a willingness to spend a little. You can choose from multiple color variations for the buttons and the unit itself. Wayfair has even more affordable, simple handheld sprayer options (similar to the one at your kitchen sink) for around $55.

Include white noise in your bathroom.

A bathroom fan is the easiest way to cover up embarrassing noises. If you don’t already have one, install an exhaust fan to help remove humidity and keep air flowing, especially if you have a shower. For a white noise option, this one doubles as decor and a white noise machine. However, if the sound of running water helps the flow, purchase this made-in-Japan model for less than $20. It takes two AA batteries and has two volume settings

Splurge on a seat warmer.

For me, the pièce de résistance is having a heated toilet seat. I’ve never had a more aha moment with something so uncomplicated. Plus, they are readily available online and in person at retailers and home improvement stores. 

For example, Kohler’s PureWarmth seat retails for under $200 and requires minimal setup — though you need to have an outlet behind or beside your toilet. Bonus: This model includes a nightlight and an accompanying app. Brondell offers a similar LumaWarm nightlight/warmer combination for around $100. Although a seat warmer is a bit of a splurge, it’s one travel-inspired investment I’ll definitely be making soon.