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Japan opens public toilet with its own grounds7th of June 2012
A public toilet housed in a see-through glass cubicle and situated in its own grounds is the latest novelty washroom to come out of Japan.
The ladies' loo sits in its own 200 sq m plot of land in front of Itabu railway station in Ichihara City. Although the single cubicle has transparent walls it is protected from voyeurs by a two-metre high fence surrounding the gardens.
The toilet cost 10 million yen - more than 97,000 Euros - to build. So why spend so much money on one isolated single-sex toilet surrounded by so much open space?
"There used to be no public toilets suitable for tourists' use here," explained an official from Ichihara City Tourism Promotion Department. "We wanted to create toilets that drivers and their passengers could use."
The official says Ichihara attracts many sightseers in spring due to its natural beauty, flourishing cherry trees and mustard fields. However, in the past the only public washrooms available were unattractive pit toilets with an old-fashioned, unclean appearance.
"The original pit toilets were installed for train passengers at Itabu Station, but with infrequent trains and the area still being popular, many visitors now come by car." The official says he hopes the toilet will become a tourist attraction for visitors to next year's planned Ichihara City Art Festival.
The architect-designed toilet was originally built solely for women to keep the queues down, but may be opened to both men and women in future.