Lonely Planet advises people to carry tissues with them in case there isn't any toilet paper

Toilet paper isn't always provided, so it is always a good idea to carry tissues with you. You may also be given small packets of tissues on the street – a common form of advertising.

I can vouch for small packets of tissues being a common form of advertising, but a lack of toilet paper, not so much. Maybe the author of that advice got the wrong idea of what people use the tissues for.

Is lack of toilet paper a common occurrence in Japan?

  • 5
    I don't remember a lack of toilet paper in Japan. In China it's a real problem. Here you have to pay for the packs of tissues but in my backpack I still have some of the free packs from my last trip to Japan a year ago! Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 10:44
  • 10
    What's with the stupid close votes? Getting caught in a toilet in a foreign country without toilet paper is a real problem real travellers face! I've damn well faced it a few times. At home I know what to expect. Overseas, why not ask people who've been there and know? Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 10:55
  • 3
    This question is specific to a country, it cites a source and asks for help regarding a common issue for travellers. Voting to reopen.
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 17:07

3 Answers 3


It's common in public toilets, yes, especially those located in unattended locations such as public parks and small train stations. On the other hand, toilets in stores such as convenience stores or shopping malls, or in large train stations, virtually always have paper (you may even get lucky and have a "washlet").

A related and somewhat more common issue is that the washbasin area doesn't always have hand soap.

  • 6
    I can confirm the lack of hand soap. Even at a government research institute I visit regularly, there's no soap in any of the bathrooms. Very curious for a country where you are supposed to change into sandals before going into the bathroom! I've never been "caught short" on the toilet paper front though.
    – Calchas
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 11:17
  • 1
    Paper towels are also often missing in Japan. People typically carry their own personal handkerchief for drying their hand off after washing them.
    – Jeff B
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 18:31
  • Definitely have been in situations where the only toilet paper in a public toilet required buying from a vending box, but not in at least 12 years. Not sure if it is as common anymore,or if I just tend to be able to use ones in shops more often than when I was younger and poorer.
    – JasonTrue
    Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 6:03
  • @JasonTrue Maybe you venture only in the big cities?
    – fkraiem
    Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 6:09
  • @fkraiem, why would you say that? The public toilets missing toilet paper that I can recall most vividly were in a somewhat urban area, but I'm not sure why that has anything to do with it. I've traveled pretty much everywhere in Japan other than Hokkaido and Okinawa, from rural to metropolis.
    – JasonTrue
    Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 16:28

What I experienced is, that you mostly have toilet paper in the Kanto-Area, but there are many public toilets in the Kansai-Area lacking toilet paper. A friend from Kansai can confirm this fact, too. Maybe, thats why it's written down in a travel guide like Lonely Planet.


I have just come back from a month in Japan, travelling through Tokyo, Takayama, Kanazawa, Osaka and Kyoto, mainly in tourist sites.

There was toilet paper in every western style toilet except one at the Heian shrine in Kyoto which had a vending machine selling toilet paper right outside.

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