It might not be permanent, though.

Few things are more potentially awkward than walking into the wrong public restroom, but for a moment that’s what our Japanese-language reporter Masanuki had thought he’d done.

Sure, the placard outside had the universal “men’s” picture on it, and there were urinals all around. But while those are both signs that you’re probably in a men’s room, the restroom at the Yahata Parking Area of the Sanyo Expressway in the town of Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture, was missing the one definite indicator that you’re in a men’s room: fresh puddles of urine on the floor.

There was some discoloration from past pisses, but the floor was bone dry. It was almost eerie, like if you showed up at Disneyland but there were no cavorting costumed characters or other guests to be seen.

Still, as advanced as Japan’s toilet technology is, the country hasn’t developed urinals for women yet, so Masanuki figured he must be in the right place. Needing to make a liquid deposit, he stepped up to a urinal, unzippered his pants, and immediately felt a floaty sensation.

However, this wasn’t because his bladder had been so full that he was experiencing a transcendentally euphoric urination, but because the floor was angled!

▼ “Amazing!” says Masanuki in his self-portrait reenactment, in which he shows admirable restraint by not drawing his junk.

While it’s a little hard to see in photos, the restroom’s floor isn’t flat, but actually slopes downward towards the wall the urinals are installed along.

The result is that you’ll lean forward when using them, which not only brings your urine’s exit point farther over the urinal itself, it keeps it there during any incidental dribbling that follows the main event.

Impressed by this simple solution, Masanuki tracked down the facility’s manager to express his admiration. But while the manager was happy that Masanuki appreciated the innovation, not every patron has been so pleased. Older gentlemen, in particular, have been startled by the slanted flooring, and the next time the restroom is renovated, they might go back to a normal, flat floor.

Still, for now this forward-thinking, forward-leaning restroom is still in operation, and if you’re interested in trying it for yourself…

…you’ll be happy to know that the parking area also has a 7-Eleven branch, full of liquid refreshment to help necessitate a bathroom break.

Related: Yahata Parking Area (Kudari-sen)
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[ Read in Japanese ]