Learn How to Operate a Self-Service Washing Machine in Japan

This coin-operated laundry service can be quite confusing especially when you're in a foreign country.

Coin Laundry is a self-service washing facility that you can find in the streets of Japan. The large washing machine is operated by inserting coins according to your load. The Japanese use this facility to wash big things that cannot fit the usual washing machine like winter blankets, etc. This facility has also been a huge help for travelers who stay in Japan for a few days. This way they can bring home clean clothes. 

To use this facility, we need to break down the language barrier because most coin laundries are still in Japanese. Here is a simple guide to know what the characters on the buttons mean. Each machine is different, but these are the general characters you can expect to find.

Japanese letter

How to read



Koosu Suicchi

Course Switch


Koosu Naiyou

Course Menu





Sofutozai Fuyou

Softener Unnecessary


Senzai Fuyou

Detergent Unnecessary


Sentaku to Kansou

Washing and Drying 


Sentaku Nomi

Washing only


Kansou Nomi

Drying only

Here are the steps to guide you when using the coin laundry.

1. Put the clothes or items you want to wash and close the machine’s door tightly.

2. Choose the washing menu you want to use

The course you can choose will be different depending on the type of machine. Usually, they          have three basic courses:

- Wash & Dry
  You have the option to choose from 40, 50, and 60-minute duration.
- Wash only
- Dry only

3. Insert the coin equivalent to the course you have chosen. The machine will automatically start after you put in the coins.

In addition, we also have some tips for using the coin laundry that might help you.

Make sure to bring your own detergent

Some of the coin laundries will provide the detergent that is included in the machine. But, since in someplace the detergent is excluded, it will good if you bring your own detergent, to be sure.  

Bring some ¥100 or ¥500 coins

Almost all of the coin laundry accepts ¥100 or ¥500 coins for the payment. It is best if you prepare the coins beforehand because in some places, they do not have money changer machines. We recommend you to bring around ¥1,000 to ¥1,500. The price will differ depending on the course you choose. It can be determined by time or amount (kg) in the course itself. 

Bring your own washing net

To maintain the quality of clothing material, it will be better if you bring and use your own washing net when laundering the clothes in a coin laundry.

 (23 August 2019)

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