Museum Dedicated to High-Tech Toilets Opens in Japan—Where Else?

TOTO's new museum in Kitakyushu.
Photo: AFP.

On August 28, the world’s most innovative toilet company, TOTO, opened a new museum dedicated to a century of lavatories.

The new museum, which exhibits 950 TOTO products and fabricated bathrooms, according to the AFP, is located in the city of Kitakyushu, where the company is based.

Known for their bidet-equipped Washlet series, the high-tech toilets have become common fixtures in both public and private spaces around Japan. In fact, they are the symbol of Japanese “know-how” and hygiene.

For the museum, TOTO has created a replica of its first water-flushing toilet seat, which came onto the market in 1914. Other installations include remakes of other deluxe lavatories, including those the company has provided for the State Guest House in Tokyo, which houses visiting foreign dignitaries, and washrooms installed at Hotel New Otani for the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Basic TOTO toilet seats are heated and spray warm water for rinsing; at the higher end, some intricate models have features like motion sensors and speakers that play soothing sounds. All models are tailored to conserve energy and water.

Earlier this year, the company also installed a gallery in the departures area of Tokyo’s Narita international airport, where travelers could try their latest models, according to the Washington Post.

Although this may seem like a peculiar museum, it’s par for the course in Japan. This past July, Tokyo’s Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation opened an exhibition where visitors could don feces-shaped hats (cue emoticons) and jump into a giant model toilet to learn about the Japanese sewer system.

TOTO’s toilets have been regularly praised by tourists and celebrities including Madonna. Admission to the museum will be free of charge.


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