Japan's high-tech toilets are getting less intimidating

Tourist-friendly instructions should mean no more surprise wet butts.

Japan is famed for its elaborate, high-tech toilets; and these elaborate, high-tech toilets are themselves famed for being nigh impossible for foreigners to decipher. Aware of the confusion many visitors face in getting to grips with the country's "beautiful toilet culture," nine manufacturers of luxurious thrones have put competition aside to agree on a new standardized and simple set of icons for common features.

From April, all toilets sold in Japan by these companies will feature the easier-to-understand instructions. There should be enough out in the wild, then, that tourists coming for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and Tokyo 2020 Olympics can avoid too many mishaps, such as soaking their genitals when they only wanted to flush.

Speaking to The Asahi Shimbun, head of the nine-strong group and president of toilet-maker Toto Madoka Kitamura said: "We are sure the new design of pictograms will help our products become more popular overseas, as well as offer hospitality to foreigners and show that Japan is a country that welcomes tourists."