I just came across a sentence that used 男子トイレ and 女子トイレ and it got me wondering. What is the difference (if there is one) between the 男子トイレ and the 男性トイレ, and of course between the 女子トイレ and the 女性トイレ.

In English I would say the "men's room" and "boys' room" are, for the most part, interchangeable, but I wouldn't use "men's" to refer to a bathroom in a primary school, or use "boys'" in a formal setting.

If I had to guess I would say that this is the case in Japanese as well, or if not it was simply a change in the degree of formality.


For a bathroom in a school, college or university, I think we use 男子/女子トイレ. I don't think we normally say 男性/女性トイレ to refer to a school bathroom. I think both 男子/女子トイレ and 男性/女性トイレ are used for a bathroom in other places like a train station, company, department store etc...

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    ほかに、女性用/男性用トイレ、婦人用/紳士用トイレ、婦人用/紳士用お手洗い、(お)化粧室(←女性用)と言ったりします。「男子/女子便所」も見かけますが、「便所」はちょっと下品です。「ご不浄」「はばかり」は古くて、お年寄りがたまに使うのを聞くくらいです。 – user1016 Jan 10 '14 at 6:58

Come to think of it, I used to live near a train station where, in front of the washrooms in the station, there was an announcement on repeat to help blind people find the washroom, and it used 男子・女子 トイレ, rather than 男性・女性. So, I guess that's a data point for you, perhaps 男性・女性 are just not commonly used?

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