My latest gadget: the washlet

While everyone else is talking about the iPad, I would like to show off my latest gadget which I have purchased last week: the washlet.

I'm sure a lot of people know what a washlet is, but personally, I didn't know about the term until I came to Japan. So, what is a washlet?

A washlet is a device that replaces your standard toilet cover with a high-tech seat containing a number of functions, such as sprinkling water on your bum, heating the seat, filtering odors, automatically raising/lowering seat, etc. It comes with a sidearm console, which I have played with numerous times in Japanese restaurants. It's always nice to figure out what a particular washlet can do, despite some uncomfotable surprises form time to time (cold water up there when you're not expecting it? Not fun.)


The installation was not as hard as I thought it would be. Toilet seats have two big plastic screws which are very easy to remove, and likewise, the washlet screws into the toilet the same way. The piping was slightly more complex, as the standard pipe going to the tank must be modified to bring water to both the tank and the washlet tank, which in turn will warm up the water to be later sprinkled. Then, the washlet must be connected to a power outlet to power the console. Finally, a thin metal wire must be grounded to avoid static charge buildup while the device is on. I cannot image getting a jolt of static electricity on your privates being a pleasant experience.

Basic washlet functions

I got a fairly normal model by Japanese standards:

  • Heating seat: Most japanese homes are not or badly insulated for winter (don't ask me why, no one knows!!!). Standard seats can get very cold in winter, which is very unpleasant. Heating provides a much better experience.
  • Odor filter: Do I have to explain this one? A lifesaver after Mexican food.
  • Heated water sprinkler: Want a better butt-wiping experience? Try spraying some water first. The spray can even move! You also save on paper (but lose on water, I guess).
  • Bidet: For the ladies, I'm sure this is very practical, and you don't need a bidet in the house in addition to the toilet. 2-in-1 !!!
  • Fine control over everything: seat temperature, water temperature, water pressure, sprinkler position... maybe more?

More advanced models come with odor filtering with perfumes, automatic opening seat as you walk in and closing as you are done (after getting up, of course), flush strength, air jet to dry your bum after sprinkling it, and otohime, the fart silencer.

Sounds weird to be excited about a washlet, but I'm actually very happy to have gotten one, even if it's just for the heated seat. I'm even thinking of giving a few to my family back home. If you can get your hands (or butt) on one, I totally recommend it.