Whenever I travel to a new city, one of the first phrases I find essential to learn is, “Where is the restroom?”
If you’re someone like me (read: a person that requires more wee breaks than the average human), then this list is for you! We’ve uncovered four cities with the cleanest public toilets.
4. Stockholm, Sweden
First up, Stockholm. Public restrooms in Stockholm have rotating toilet seats that are self-cleaning, guaranteeing any trip to the loo to be a pleasant experience. While many bathrooms in the city require a small fee to enter (5 to 10 Swedish krona, which is around 26 to 53 pesos), over 40 public restrooms across the city are free of charge. These restrooms are well-maintained, spacious, and conveniently located near popular sites for tourists.
Neighboring Scandinavian cities such as Copenhagen and Oslo also pride themselves on having clean (and in some cases, very beautifully-designed) public toilets.
3. Zürich, Switzerland
Some public toilets, commonly known as WC or water closets, are almost spotless in the city of Zürich. The upside is that you can conveniently find them anywhere from train and bus stations, parks, restaurants, popular tourist sites, and cable-car platforms. The downside is that most are not free. A trip to the toilet can cost up to 2 Swiss Francs. That’s around 100 pesos!
2. Shanghai, China
We’ve all heard the horror stories, so it may come as a surprise to some that Shanghai made this list. As it turns out, China has come a very long way when it comes to improving the conditions of its public toilets. Since 2015, the country has undergone what is called a “toilet revolution,” constructing over 68,000 public toilets between 2015 to 2017. It is common to find a cleaning attendant assigned to these public restrooms, whose job is to keep it sanitary throughout the day. While you will still encounter many squat-style toilets, western toilets are available in most public restrooms.
1. Tokyo, Japan
It comes as no surprise that Tokyo would take the top spot. Not only are their public toilets squeaky clean, but the technological advancements on them are pretty amazing, with all sorts settings available at the click of a button. Among its features are the bidet (you can adjust the water pressure as you please and can choose for the water to clean the back side or front side for women) and sound (you can turn on an artificial flushing sound in case you want to mask other sounds that might be heard from inside your cubicle). What’s great is that restrooms are easy to come by and are usually free. There are public restrooms in parks, train stations, restaurants, department stores, and even some convenience stores, making it easy and stress-free for tourists to find them.
Fun fact: Japanese toilet paper is designed to dissolve in water, so unlike what we’re used to over here when you travel to Japan, you are encouraged to flush your toilet paper down the drain!