Public Restrooms, Kyoto
Most of the bathrooms in Japan (just the local ones not those in luxury hotels and upclass shopping malls), are not equipped with papertowels to wipe hands. By having a wash cloth in your pocket will save you a lot of inconvenience! I noticed this from Japanese women. They have wash cloths with them all the time...You can buy this wash cloth at local stores...
Generally speaking, there are two types of toilets in Japan. Kyoto, being a faily old city with some fairly new areas, will give you a fairly even mix of the two.
Both can be found in houses or in public restrooms.
This is the traditional type of toilet found in East Asia. The look can vary from the classic "Hole in the Ground" to the nouveau "Big shiny with water sounds and foot grips."
Many foreigners first aproach the squatter with curiosity and forbearance.
Don't worry. It is easy (especially if you are in skirts) and it is actually safer and more healthy than the sitting-style western toilet.
Just lift you skirt or pull your pants down to knee level, place your feet on either side of the toilet (facing the hood) and go at it. (There are ussually urinals available for men).
There is no skin contact with the toilet and it places your urinary tract and bowels in the correct posstion for evacuation.
*Some squat toilets will have a seat placed over to make the wester-style sitting.
The Western Style
This is the comfort toilet which has spread trough Japan as a result of western influence. You may find the basic seat in the handi-capped or mother stall of the public suat toilets but if the house or public toilet you are in has a western-style toilet it will most likely come with all of the trimmings.
Wester-style toilets in Japan are often equipped with heated seats, water sounds, big and little flush, bidet and cleaner.
Nowhere will you ever sit in such luxury.
One pay toilet in Arashiyama will talk to you and tell you about all of it's features while you sit on the toilet.
Most Western-style toilets in Japan will also be equipped with sanitizer.
Using a toilet in Japan is an exciting experience. If you don't forget to carry your own tissues you can just lean back and enjoy!!
Not just in Kyoto, but in most japanese cities I found this kind of high tech WC in the hotel bathroom. It is a bit scaring, as there many soft touch button that activate electronically some special function, like water stream, water jets in all directions, water mist, perfume on, music control, etc.. And of course the instructions were only in japanese. Amazing.
The restroom fixtures are slightly different - that's all. No big thing, just need to make some adjustment.
Going to the restroom in Japan can be an adventure if you need to do #2 just this picture for example.