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

#6: Yoyogi Hachiman

Three Mushrooms


Location #6 is at 5-1-2 Yoyogi, Shibuya. It's at the base of a hill, below Yoyogi Hachiman-gū, a Shintō shrine thought to enshrine the kami Hachiman.

The architect, Toyo Ito, wrote: "The toilets resemble three mushrooms that sprouted from the forest around Yoyogi-Hachiman shrine. [...] The impression of mushrooms creates a sense of harmony with the forest in the background. Having three separate toilets with circulation space in between makes it easy to navigate. Connecting paths with no dead-ends also allow good visual connection, creating a safe environment and preventing crime."

Walking to the Toilet

Japanese does not split and join compound words the same way English does. The suffixes -ji and -gū indicate a Buddhist temple and a Shintō shrine, respectively.

I had visited locations #08 and #07 before continuing to this one. So, from the park in which #07 is located, I crossed the rail line and went up the hill and around a cemetery to reach Fukusen-ji, a Buddhist temple.

From there I continued along a shady path to the entry to Yoyogi Hachiman-gū, a Shintō shrine.

Fukusen-ji is in a very modern building. In front of it is a statue of Jizō.

Jizō is a bodhisattva typically depicted as a monk carrying a staff and a wish-fulfilling jewel, standing on a lotus base symbolizing his release from rebirth. He vowed to instruct all beings in the era from the death of the historical Gautama Buddha until the arrival of Maitreya. He's one of the four principal bodhisattvas in East Asian Mahayana Buddhism.

Jizō is regarded as the guardian of children and the patron deity of deceased children. He's Jizō in Japanese, Kṣitigarbha in the original Sanskrit.

In Japan, parents will dress a Jizō statue in a red bib and cap.

Jizō statue at the Fukusen-ji Buddhist temple.

A shaded path leads from Fukusen-ji, the Buddhist temple, to the entrance to Yoyogi Hachiman-gū, a Shintō shrine.

Path from Fukusen-ji to Yoyogi Hachiman-gu.
Torii and path to Yoyogi Hachiman-gu.

A concrete torii flanked by stone lanterns marks a passage into a more sacred space as you approach the shrine.

The name Hachiman-gū indicates that this is a Shintō shrine thought to enshrine the kami Hachiman, a figure based on elements from both Shintō and Buddhism. Shintō says that he was originally Emperor Ōjin, said to have ruled as Emperor #15 in the 3rd to 4th century CE. Ōjin then became deified and known as the "Kami of Eight Banners". So, Ōjin was the great12th-grandson of Jimmu, who was the first Emperor and the great-grandson of the grandson of Amaterasu, one of the earliest gods. And so, Hachiman was doubly divine, and increased the divinity of following Emperors. (Inbreeding in the imperial lines of Europe, on the other hand, led mainly to hemophilia and color blindness)

Since ancient times, farmers and fishermen have paid tribute to Hachiman in the hopes of getting better harvests of crops and fish. As the patron deity of archery and war, he became a favored kami of the samurai.

In the early 8th century CE and again in 1868 the Imperial Court proclaimed new interpretations of Shintō, both of them emphasizing the divine origin of the line of Emperors. The second of those, the Meiji Restoration, overthrew the Shōgunate and established what other nations called State Shintō. That led to greatly increased miltarism, with Japan engaged in a series of conflicts building up to the Second World War.

Yoyogi Hachiman-gu.

Visiting the Toilet

From Yoyogi Hachiman-gu, follow the lane down the steep slope to Yamate Dori, a major north-south street. The Tokyo Toilet site is at the base of the hill.

A ring of windows is just below the roof of each, providing natural light inside. The light flows the other way at night, providing soft lighting for the surroundings.

Overview of Yoyogi Hachiman Public Toilet.

The largest unit contains the universal toilet with support for ostomates, babies, and wheelchairs.

The other two each provide two facilities for men or women, with one of the men's simply a pair of urinals.

Plan of Yoyogi Hachiman Public Toilet.

The men's toilet is through the locking door to the right. The men's urinals are around to the left.

Entrance to men's toilets at right, urinals at left.
Men's toilet at Yoyogi Hachiman Public Toilet.

Above is the men's toilet. Notice the sturdy hook on the wall beside the toilet, and the broad shelf above it. Also notice that this facility has a vessel sink.

The urinals also have sturdy hooks to hang a coat or umbrella, and a shelf to rest packages.

Urinals at Yoyogi Hachiman Public Toilet.

Moving on to the next location

Locations #06, #07, and #08 are close together along the west edge of Yoyogi Park. Fukusen-ji, a Buddhist temple, and Yoyogi Hachiman-guū, a Shintō shrine thought to enshrine the kami Hachiman, provide interesting things to see between #06 and #07. They're close to the Yoyogi-Hachiman Station, OH 04 on the Odakyū Odawara Line, and the Yoyogi-kōen subway station, C 02 on the Chiyoda Line.

Next❯ #07: Haru No Ogawa Community Park

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: