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Shibuya's Artistic Public Toilets Shatter 'Dirty and Scary' Image

Renovated public toilets throughout Tokyo's Shibuya Ward are challenging preconceived notions with their creative design and comfortable-to-use facilities.



The Jingu-Dori Park Toilet, designed by Tadao Ando. (Photo by Satoshi Nagare courtesy of The Nippon Foundation)

Read the full story on Japan 2 Earth - Shibuya's Artistic Public Toilets Shatter 'Dirty and Scary' Image

At the Cannes Film Festival in May 2023, actor Koji Yakusho received the prestigious Best Actor award for his performance in the film Perfect Days, directed by Wim Wenders. 

The movie portrays the daily life of a cleaner working in a public toilet in Tokyo. Notably, the filming took place in a facility that is part of The Tokyo Toilet project. The project's aim is to install clean public toilets throughout Shibuya Ward. 

Following the film's acclaim in Cannes, these unique toilets have garnered increased attention for their fusion of art and public facilities.

Safer and Cleaner Public Toilets

Akiko Yamada of The Nippon Foundation emphasizes the project’s objective. "We aim to change the negative perception of public toilets as dark, scary, and dirty," she said.

In 2017, The Nippon Foundation and Shibuya Ward signed an agreement to address societal problems through social innovation. As one part of this agreement, The Tokyo Toilet project was initiated to install hygienic public toilets throughout Shibuya Ward.

public toilets
The interior of the Nabeshima Shoto Park Toilet employs wood waste and was designed by Kengo Kuma. (Photo by Satoshi Nagare courtesy of The Nippon Foundation)

The project’s goal is to create public toilets that can be used comfortably by individuals of all genders, ages, and abilities. As of March 2023, 17 facilities within the ward have been successfully renovated.

Sixteen world-renowned architects and designers have participated in the project. Tadao Ando, who designed Omotesando Hills complex, and Kengo Kuma, who designed Japan's new National Stadium, are among them. 

Continue reading the full story on Japan 2 Earth.

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(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: Tomomi Yoshizawa

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