Public Toilets in Hong Kong 

Magazine: LIXIL Business Journal (translated from Japanese)


In the earlier months of 1894, a contagious plague first broke out in the Tai Ping Shan district and killed over two thousand people. In response to this, the residents moved into new apartments elsewhere, the Government cleared the area and built the Blake Garden, which is renowned as the first public park in Hong Kong.

Households back then rarely owned a bathroom and it is said that one of the major reasons why the epidemic plague emerged was due to poor sanitary conditions. In 1904, the government built the Pound Lane Public Bath House, which is the first public bathroom/WC constructed beside Blake Garden.

However, the main purpose of this building was the showers not the WCs. Several other public bath houses built around Hong Kong at that time did not even have WCs. Even today, you will find public bath houses around Hong Kong since there are many households that still do not own a bathroom.


After World War II, the Government reformed the public health policy and built public WCs around Hong Kong. Drainage systems and the sewage treatments were all properly set only after the 90s. 


Unlike any other places in the world, public WCs in Hong Kong have various sizes and shapes because they are built according to the geodetic limitations of the sites. Public WCs are usually more than two stories and rarely standalone with no other functions. Beside the example mentioned before, there are three other types of public WCs in Hong Kong.

 a. Public toilet with the common room

One of the most common features of a public WC is the common room.  It is either built between male and female WCs or a floor above the WC with it usually opening between 6AM and 11PM, the same time as the public WC, because the WC is cleaned for about 6 times a day. That is probably why you always see the floor wet there. Having the duty to clean the toilets several times a day, cleaners must be too busy to do their laundries at home and instead, hangs their clothes up on the rooftop of the WC building.


 b. Public WC with public refuse collection point

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Hong Kong Government, is responsible for the public WCs service.  Given that, you'll sometimes see public WCs being established in the same building of the public refuse collection points. It can be said that locating WC and waste collection point in one place is one of the efficient ways to manage the city hygienically in terms of cleaning and waste management.


 c. ‘Parasite’

The ‘parasite’ type of WCs is located within a wet market, which is usually inside a large complex. Some of the wet markets even have public libraries, gyms and swimming pools─a surprise to see how public facilities are stacked up in one building block in Hong Kong.

Unlike Japan, this type of construction is buildable here because, buildings are not affected by additional seismic loads. Therefore, there is no problem in building a complex with multiple functions. WCs are facilitated since there are demands in public facilities, therefore, such WCs can be categorised as ‘parasite’ type.









There is a government budget of HK$1.77 million per annum (¥2.5 billion) for Toilet Services. It probably tells why the toilets are well maintained. It is rather easy to open a business in Hong Kong due to its low tax rate, therefore, many international firms have their branch offices in Hong Kong and plays important role as an international hub in Asia. However, because of that, prices are increasing especially housing prices and hence create more economic inequality. There are apartments called ‘coffin apartments’, which are affordable with a minimal space for a person to live.

Even an apartment with a room size of 6㎡ does not provide a shared toilet and the private toilets are shoved into those tiny rooms. Interestingly, you may say that privacy means a lot to Hong Konger and owning private toilet is a must. Due to the expensive rent and bills for an apartment with private bathrooms, residents living in such rooms do not have enough time or money since they are mostly low-paid workers. Most of them are elder citizens and people with disabilities, so they have no choice but to stay at their ‘coffin homes’. Therefore, it can be said that people like us who can go out, enjoy the city and actually use the public WCs are only a limited people in Hong Kong.

Yasuhiro Kaneda / YKS Director

▲ Cleaners' hut located above a public toilet

▲ Municipal management room located between toilets

▲ A toilet located inside a wet market

▲ A toilet located within a communal facilities such as a public library

▲ A toilet located right next to a wet market allowing access from outside instead of from inside the wet market

◀ From right to left, you'll see dog toilets, recycling bins and public toilets

     located near a public refuse collection point

▲ Pound Lane Public Bath House, the first public bath house/toilet, located next to the park alongside a narrow staircase 

▲ Second Street Public Bath House was opened in the early 20th century. It was a bath house without toilets

▲ Blake Gardena strange scenery of a flatland suddenly appearing between skyscrapers

▲ Plan view of a coffin apartment

▲ How tenants are residing in subdivided units


雑誌 :​ LIXILビジネス情報


1894年、香港の太平山(Tai Ping Shan)という過密地域で爆発的な疫病が発生し、これにより数千人以上の死者を出した。政府はこの地域の建物を全て取り壊し、住民は新たに建てられたアパートへ転居、もとの敷地は住居には適さないということで、香港最初のパブリック・パークBlake Gardenとなった。

当時、浴室を持っている家庭は一般的ではなく、環境衛生が非常に悪かったことがこの疫病の流行の大きな原因と考えられており、政府は1904年に香港初の公共浴室兼トイレPound Lane Public Bath Houseをこの公園の脇に設置した。



























 a. 清掃員室併用型


 b. ごみ収集所併用型


 c. パラサイト型

















香港のパブリック・トイレが非常に清潔に保たれている理由のひとつに、年間17.7億香港ドル(約250億円、2015年現在)という多額の清掃費を支払えるだけの税収が確保されていることがある。アジアのハブとして機能している香港では、会社を開業するのが簡単で、税率が低い事から、金融系だけでなく、多くの外資系企業が支店をもっている。しかし、それにより物価は上昇し続けており、特に家賃の高騰は目まぐるしく、格差は開くばかりである。それゆえに、香港には低所得者が住むCoffin apartments(棺のようなアパート)と呼ばれるものが存在する。ベッド、洗面台、トイレのみで構成されており、物理的に最低限の部屋である。


金田泰裕 / YKS Director

▲ 香港初のパブリック・トイレ Pound Lane Public Bath House。階段に沿った斜面に細長く配置されている。

▲ トイレ機能を持たない公共浴室 Second Street Public Bath House。20世紀初頭に完成。

▲ 清掃員室及び公園管理室が男女トイレの間にあるタイプ。

▲ 清掃員室が2階にあるタイプ。

▲ 複合公共建築の道路に面して配置。

▲ 市場の中に配置。

▲ 建物右下の階段途中に配置。

▲ Coffin apartment のプラン例。

▲ 実際の Subdivided units の状況。

◀ 右から、ペット用のトイレ、ごみ箱、ごみ収集所併用型トイレ。

▲ 現在の Blake Garden、もの凄い密度で林立する高層ビル群の中に突然現われるこの大きな空隙には違和感がある。