Any talk on a first visit to Japan – to other travellers, to the Japanese and to people at home, must inevitably include the toilets. Because if there is one thing possibly above all others to marvel at in Japan, for Western tourists at least, it must be the heated toilet seat.
Perfection on a cold spring morning, even more sublime I am sure on a frosty winter's eve, the heated toilet seat is a revolution in personal sanitation. The first time I tried it was a surprise and a delight, and I just kept on revelling in it, while sitting on them.
Think of the warmth and comfort of a heated car seat. Now transfer that relaxed sense of ease to your routine lavatory visits. Magical? Yes. If you were in Japan in this warm and cozy personal space, you might also find a variety of options for sanitizing the seat – this is taken seriously, as toilets in Japan are among the cleanest you will find anywhere.
Next, if your comfort might be slightly diminished by a feeling of lack of privacy, you need only to touch a button helpfully labelled “flushing sound” to obscure any unwanted sounds from the seat.
It just keeps getting better from there – when you are ready, the toilet can also serve as a bidet. You can get a cleansing spray straight up, which depending on where you're seated may travel up your back, or there is the 'woman' figure spray which hits other regions in the zone. When you're all done, you can wash your hands in the faucet above the toilet tank, and leave the slippers labelled 'toilet' at the door.
The toilet seat will be there, comfortably warm for next time.