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

#11: Jingū Dōri Park



Location #11 is at 6-22-8 Jingūmae, Shibuya.

The architect Tadao Ando, who designed it, wrote:
"I sought for this small architecture to exceed the boundaries of a public toilet to become a "place" in the urban landscape that provides immense public value. Using this clear and simple reasoning for the concept of this structure, I chose to utilize a circle floorplan with a spanning roof and engawa. It was vital for me to make a space that was comfortable and safe."

And also:
"This toilet tucked away in the greenery that is Jingu-Dori Park will be known as 'Amayadori.'"

Visiting the Toilet

Jingū Dōri Park is a narrow green space between Jingū Dō, a major north-south thoroughfare classified as Tokyo Metropolitan Road 305, and elevated rail lines running the remaining 530 meters into the north end of Shibuya Station.

Exterior of Jingō Dōri Public Toilet known as 'Amayadori'.

Notice all the "no smoking on the streets" signs on the cords around the shrubbery in the above picture. We'll come back to that.

The door to the universal toilet is straight in through the entry on this side. Men's and women's toilets are to the left and right, respectively.

The architect mentioned the circle floorplan with a spanning roof and engawa, a space that is neither fully outside nor fully inside, sometimes like a porch or sunroom. The ground slopes away from the building beneath a traditional engawa, which has a significant step or two down from its edge. Here, however, while the material changes and there is a very slight outward conical slope for drainage, there is no abrupt step at all.

Exterior of Jingō Dōri Public Toilet known as 'Amayadori'.

The floor plan shows that while the universal toilet, the men's toilet, and the women's toilet are all in compartments with locking doors, the entire toilet is quite open inside.

Floor plan of Jingō Dōri Public Toilet known as 'Amayadori'.

Standing at the sink on the men's side, you are barely inside and can still see out the broad door.

Men's sink in the Jingō Dōri Public Toilet known as 'Amayadori'.

The urinals are further around, them and their users blocked from view from the outside.

Urinals Jingō Dōri Public Toilet known as 'Amayadori'.

I was surprised to see two crumpled paper wrappers and a beer can on the shelf above the urinals. This is Japan, where there is almost no litter.

However, this public toilet is just a short distance north of the Shibuya Crossing, and at the south end of Cat Street. The area is swarmed by crowds, many of whom are foreign.

The trash could have been left by a Japanese person. Litter is extremely uncommon but not non-existent. However, given the high percentage of foreign pedestrians here, I think that the most likely explanation, by far, is that a foreign visitor left it. I think that the extra "No smoking on the streets" signs in the park are related to the trash discarded in the public toilet.

Related to the foreign visitors, I was startled to see Tower Records a block south of this public toilet. Didn't that company collapse and disappear ages ago?

Yes. The last Tower Records locations in the U.S. closed in December, 2006. However... Tower Records Japan Inc. or TRJ was established in 1981, and became independent from the international chain in 2002. So, the U.S. bankruptcy in 2006 had no effect on TRJ. As of 2014, TRJ operated 85 directly operated stores throughout Japan. Their Shibuya Store close to this public toilet is said to be one of the biggest music retail outlets in the world, with 5,000 m2 of retail space spread across nine floors.

Moving on to the Next Location

Next❯ #12: Nabeshima Shōtō 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: