Tokyo Toilet project location, public toilets using electrically opaque glass.

#5: Nishisandō

Vessels and Fountains


Location #5 is at 3-27-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya. It's along a narrow greenway and almost underneath curving and branching elevated express highways and rail lines.

The architect, Sou Fujimoto, wrote: "I believe that a public toilet is an urban watering place, a fountain in the city. We propose a public hand-washing facility that is open not only to those who use the restrooms but also to a wide variety of people with different purposes. The toilet acts as a single large vessel made for everyone’s use."

The result is a broad organic shape that reminds me of traditional architecture in the Cycladic islands.

Walking to the Toilet

Nishi means "west". Japanese does not split and join compound words the same way English does, so you will see both Nishi-Sandō and Nishisandō.

I happened to visit location #05, Nishisandō, at the end of a day. My visit to all seventeen locations was:
Day one: #10, 11, 08, 06, 07, 05
Day two: #1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 12, 15, 14, 13, 16, 17
I walked from #04, Yoyogi-Hachiman, to #05, a distance of 1.6 kilometers. Combined with other things I did on those days, I walked a little over eleven kilometers each day.

That route from #07 to #05 led me along broad streets running underneath curving elevated expressways.

Walking underneath curving elevated expressways.
Walking underneath curving and branching elevated expressways and rail lines.

Those elevated expressways intersected with others, and elevated rail line passed through the mid-air interchanges.

"Why does anime depict wild futuristic cityscapes?"
Because it's from Japan, where it really looks like this.

Walking underneath curving and branching elevated expressways and rail lines.

Visiting the Toilet

I reached #05, the Nishisandō Public Toilet, a little before sunset. Which, in mid-to-late May in Japan, occurs about 1830.

The overall structure looks somewhat like a gigantic bathtub. The universal toilet is at one end.

Overview of the Nishisandō Public Toilet.

The curving front has water faucets and fountains at heights convenient to everyone, including kids and people in wheelchairs. The architect wrote:

It is intended to create a small community of people, from children to the elderly, to gather around the vessel to wash their hands, drink water, and engage in conversation. We would like to propose a new type of public space where people can gather and communicate around water.

Sinks and drinking fountains at various heights at the Nishisandō Public Toilet.

Entrances to the women's and men's rooms are within the watering place.

Entrance to the women's and men's rooms at Nishisandō Public Toilet.

The men's door leads to two small rooms, one of them with three urinals for multiple simultaneous users.

Urinals in the men's room.
Sink and toilet in the men's room at the Nishisandō Public Toilet.

The second has a sink, a Washlet toilet, and a drop-in charger to hold a small child.

I was surprised to see a piece of rubbish, an empty wet wipe container. There is almost no litter in Japan, despite there being very few public trash receptacles.

I only saw three pieces of trash at the 17 locations: this wet wipe wrapper, a drink bottle at #02, and a drink can at #11 (which is in a very busy area with a large number of foreign visitors). That makes these phenominally clean by comparison to public toilets everywhere else.

Moving on to the next location

Next❯ #06: Yoyogi Hachiman

Tokyo Toilet — Overview and Introduction
#1: Sasazuka Greenway #2: Hatagaya #3: Nanagō Dōri Park #4: Nishihara 1-chōme Park #5: Nishisandō #6: Yoyogi Hachiman #7: Haru No Ogawa Community Park #8: Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park #9: Urasando #10: Jingūmae #11: Jingū Dōri Park #12: Nabeshima Shōtō Park #13: Higashi Sanchome Park #14: Ebisu Park #15: Ebisu Station #16: Ebisu East Park #17: Hiroo East Park

Other Toilets in Japan: