100 yen is a small price to pay for an auspicious toilet visit.
Have you heard of feng shui? It’s a traditional Chinese concept that dates back thousands of years and concerns the alignment of objects. To reduce it down to its basics, feng shui dictates that positioning furniture and buildings in certain ways will align their energy with the forces of the universe, leading to increased benefits and good luck.
Feng shui has been popular in contemporary culture on a smaller scale, especially in terms of vacation spots or to make the bedroom a more relaxing space. However, when we heard that there was a pay toilet in Yokohama’s Chinatown that alleged to have feng shui properties, our interests were immediately piqued.
As you enter Chinatown from the west side through the splendorous Zenrin Gate, you’ll come across a popular hotspot along the main street called China Square. China Square is a popular destination to purchase souvenirs, but it also has karaoke booths, aquariums, and heated rock saunas. This is the hallowed home of our destination, the feng shui pay toilet.
▼ We turn off into China Square…
▼ And prepare for our toilet encounter.
Thankfully it didn’t take us long to find a sign for this porcelain throne. A grand sign touted a Feng Shui Xǐ Shǒu Jiān, with a helpful addendum of “pay toilet on the B1 floor” beneath it in Japanese characters. We were somewhat comforted by the sign, but had no idea what to expect from here… Especially since this area was so quiet and devoid of guests.
We descended the basement steps to find another helpful sign. This one clearly listed a price—100 yen (US$0.92)—while the yellow sign beneath it assured us that the feng shui toilet awaited us on the basement floor, and to be careful when descending the staircase. Another sign implored customers to take any issues to the dedicated janitorial desk.
Down we went.
We were beginning to feel the heavy spiritual weight. Or maybe it was just nerves that we wouldn’t be ready to meet with such an esteemed bathroom.
Eventually, we arrived at the bottom of the stairs.
We turned the corner and came face to face with the janitorial desk, managed by a single woman who gladly accepted our 100 yen entrance fee.
So our male reporter headed inside the designated facilities and was greeted with…well, this.
▼ We weren’t expecting much, but is this really feng shui?
▼ What about this?
Just as we were about to feel let down by the promise of chi-aligned water closets, we turned to see…
▼ “Vitality Space — For Those Who Wish to Feel Healthy!”
▼ The toilet is pale pink, and corresponds to the sign!
But wait, there’s more.
▼ “Soothing Space — For Those Who Wish to Feel Relaxed!”
▼ This one matches the sign, too.
Two individual stalls to meet the requirements of two different kinds of people. Your wealth and waste products would both be put on the line, depending on which stall you chose… Thinking about it that way, it was no wonder we’d been so nervous about approaching this place.
It’s certainly one of the most unique public bathrooms you’ll find in Japan, and believe us, we’ve visited a few. One mustn’t discount how valuable it is to know about a relatively private public toilet in a busy tourist spot like Yokohama’s Chinatown, so next time you’re in dire straits, remember that good luck and relief is just 100 yen away.