THE TOKYO TOILET ProjectNewest toilet, designed by Kengo Kuma, completed in Nabeshima Shoto Park

The Nippon Foundation’s THE TOKYO TOILET project is building public toilets that can be used by anyone. The project is building new toilets at 17 locations in Shibuya, Tokyo, as a way of moving toward the realization of a society that embraces diversity. The ninth toilet, designed by architect Kengo Kuma, will be made available for use by the general public from June 24.

Jumpei Sasakawa, Executive Director of the Nippon Foundation (left) with Kengo Kuma (right) in front of the new public toilet in Nabeshima Shoto Park

Nabeshima Shoto Park Toilet – A Walk in the Woods

Mr. Kuma designed a toilet village inside the lush greenery of Nabeshima Shoto Park.
The five huts, each covered with eared cedar board louvers installed at random angles, are connected by a walk in the woods that disappears into the forest.
With different layouts, equipment, and interiors, each of the toilets in the village is designed to meet a special need, like child care, personal grooming, and wheelchair access. This division into separate rooms that open to catch the breeze from the park will be well suited for use after the coronavirus pandemic is brought under control, making this a “public toilet village” for people walking through the park.
In addition to embracing diversity, this public toilet also represents what Mr. Kuma calls the Age of the Forest.

Photo:Nabeshima Shoto Park Toilet
The Nabeshima Shoto Park Toilet

Kengo Kuma, Architect

There were many potential sites for this project, but I chose Nabeshima Shoto Park because it has the lushest greenery and I thought I would be able to dispel the conventional image of public toilets. In addition to the toilets, I designed the path that creates a line of flow, with the hope of offering a total experience that encompasses the surrounding environment as well as the structures.
Until now, public toilets have all had exactly the same design, but for this project I designed five small toilets including one that can be used by children and one where people attending Shibuya’s many events can change clothes for the occasion. Unlike conventional public toilets, these are unique in that they can be used by a diverse range of people.

Kengo Kuma

Jumpei Sasakawa, Executive Director, The Nippon Foundation

Nabeshima Shoto Park is the ninth location for THE TOKYO TOILET project, and we asked the world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma to design it.
Construction constitutes half of this project, with the other half being appropriate ongoing maintenance so people will want to use the toilets. We hope this will become a model for dispelling the conventional image of public toilets being dark, dirty, smelly, and scary, and that many people will use these toilets.

Jumpei Sasakawa


Japan is known as one of the cleanest countries in the world. Even public toilets have a higher standard of hygiene than in much of the rest of the world. However, the use of public toilets in Japan is limited because of stereotypes that they are dark, dirty, smelly, and scary. To dispel these misconceptions regarding public toilets, The Nippon Foundation has decided to renovate 17 public toilets located in Shibuya, Tokyo, in cooperation with the Shibuya City government. These public toilets are being designed by 16 leading creators, and will use advanced design to make them accessible for everyone regardless of gender, age or disability, to demonstrate the possibilities of an inclusive society. In addition to the construction, we have arranged for ongoing maintenance so that people will feel comfortable using these public toilets and to foster a spirit of hospitality for the next person.

Related News