100 years of the hi-tech toilet celebrated in Japanese museum
Manufacturer Toto recreates its first water-flushing toilet and famous washrooms at museum in Kitakyushu, where the company is based
Japanese toilet giant Toto opens a new museum this week dedicated to a century of lavatories, from its first water flushing model to the most cutting-edge version with odour neutralisers and variable water jets.
The museum operated by the company best known for its bidet-equipped Washlet series opens its doors on Friday in the southwestern city of Kitakyushu, where the company is based.
Hi-tech toilets, common in Japan, regularly win praise from foreign tourists and celebrities as the epitome of Japanese know-how - a contraption that offers both comforting warmth and a frighteningly accurate bidet jet.
The toilet firm is reaching back into its past with a replica of its first water-flushing toilet, which came onto the market in 1914.
There will also be recreations of washrooms that TOTO supplied to major buildings across Japan, including the State Guest House in downtown Tokyo, where foreign dignitaries stay, and those installed at a luxury hotel for the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Admission will be free.
Nearly every household in Japan and many public toilets are equipped with a seat that is plugged into the mains electricity.
At their most basic, they simply get warm and spray warm water for rinsing, while at the other end they boast motion sensors, high-power odour-neutralisers and variable water jets, all tailored to conserve energy and water.
The nation’s bidet seats are among the most popular items targeted by Chinese tourists, ranking alongside high-spec rice cookers and cosmetics.