Tokyo Unveils Transparent Public Restrooms So You Can Safely See If Someone Is Inside

These see-through public bathrooms are constructed from transparent glass, and each one has a different-colored tint to it.

Nobody likes to talk about it, but sometimes when you gotta go, you gotta go. And this can happen anywhere, including in public. We’ve all been there, a little too much liquid and suddenly we’re racing around trying to find somewhere that won’t charge you to use their facilities. This is where public restrooms come in handy. Of course, most of us associate public restrooms with the fiery pits of hell because they can be dirty and disgusting. On top of that, they are usually always occupied when you desperately need them. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could tell ahead of time what state these restrooms are in, or if there is anyone currently inside them?

While public restrooms are a worldwide occurrence, in Japan, it seems like something is actually being done to elevate them to the 21st century. Recently, architect Shigeru Ban unveiled his designs for public restrooms. These restrooms will be located in two public parks, the Haru-no-Ogawa Community Park and the Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park. But what is even more surprising is that they’re transparent.

These see-through public bathrooms are constructed from transparent glass, and each one has a different-colored tint to it. Their colors vary between pink, purple, blue, yellow, cyan, and lime green. According to the architect’s website, during the evening and nighttime hours, these bathrooms will “light up the parks like a beautiful lantern.”

But before you start to worry about the transparency of it all, there is a catch. It is only transparent when the restrooms are unoccupied. So, when somebody uses a bathroom, the stall will turn an opaque color when the lock on the door is activated. That means that there are only upsides to these technologically-forward bathrooms. Not only can you tell if someone is currently occupying the bathroom space, but it also means that you can easily tell whether or not the particular stall is clean or not, without ever having to go inside for the horrible surprise. Talk about a win.

These bathrooms are a part of “The Tokyo Toilet Project,” which has a goal to upgrade and transform the public bathrooms of some of Tokyo’s busiest centers. The project was undertaken by the non-profit Nippon Foundation. There is a total of 16 architects working to renovate all the public bathrooms by the spring of 2021.

I personally think this is a wonderfully innovative idea and I hope it catches on around the globe. What do you think of these new bathrooms? Would you want to see something like this in your city? Would you ever use one of these public restrooms? Let us know!