Home Food & Travel Toilets Galore: A Visit to the Toto Museum in Kitakyushu [Photos & Videos]

Toilets Galore: A Visit to the Toto Museum in Kitakyushu [Photos & Videos]

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A must-visit site for toilet lovers!

From delicious ramen, to some of the best onsen (hot springs) around, Japan’s southern island of Kyushu has a whole lot to offer travelers. However, if you’re looking for a tourist attraction that is not quite so mainstream, you may want to consider visiting the Toto Museum in the city of Kitakyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture.

An exterior shot of the Toto Ltd. headquarters

Located a roughly 15-minute bus ride from JR Kokura Station on the second floor within the headquarters of famous Japanese toilet manufacturer Toto Ltd., the Toto Museum was opened in August of 2015 in anticipation of the company’s 100th anniversary in 2017.

A section devoted to show how advancements in technology have led to less water being used to flush toilets

As one would expect from a museum dedicated to all things Toto, the facility is packed to the brim with all kinds of toilets, including old squat-style washiki (Japanese-style) toilets, some of the earliest Western sit-down toilets to be produced in Japan, and, of course, a plethora of Toto’s newest products.

A selection of Toto's early squat toilets
A selection of Japanese-style squat toilets

The museum has more than just toilets on display, though. There’s also a wide selection of bathroom fixtures (sinks, bathtubs, urinals, etc.), and many interactive exhibits that show off both the capabilities of their products and the rigorous testing procedures Toto’s products are subjected to.

A sit-down toilet from 1927
A very early Japanese sit-down style toilet

And, at least during the summer of 2019, there was also an eco-friendly toilet motorcycle that is supposed to run on bio-fuel. In other words, it’s supposed to run on human waste. Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to refuel the bike.

However, perhaps the best thing about the Toto Museum is that it is absolutely free to enter!

A selection of Toto’s world-famous Washlets

The Toto Museum offers English-language audio tours so as to ensure you get the most out of your experience. Groups of 20 or more can also sign up for a guided tour.

If you’re in a rush, you can easily get through the entire museum in 15-20 minutes but if you really take your time, you could spend around 45 minutes learning all about the history of Toto.

Toto makes different kinds of toilets for people of all sizes. On the left is a standard toilet for an average-sized adult. The middle toilet is for young children. The toilet on the right is an especially robust toilet made specifically for use in the training stables of sumo wrestlers.

And if you want something to remember your visit you can stop by the gift shop on your way out. There you can get all kinds of Toto-themed items, including toilet-shaped soap and special Toto-branded toilet paper. But if little Toto-themed trinkets aren’t enough for you, on your way out you can also pass by the Toto showroom on the first floor where you can purchase everything you need to give your bathroom a full Toto makeover. How you’ll fit a toilet or bathtube in your suitcase for the trip back home is another matter though.

All in all, the Toto Museum is a fun change-of-pace from the more typical tourist spots in the area. Is it worth going out of your way to visit? For most people, no. But if you’re already in the area to visit, say, Kokura Castle, then cosider allotting yourself an extra hour or so to pass by this very unique attraction.

Toto Museum Location Information

Address
2-1-1 Nakashima, Kokurakita Ward, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka 802-8601
〒802-8601 北九州市小倉北区中島2-1-1

How to Get There
There are multiple bus lines operated by Nishitetsu that you can take from JR Kokura Station to the Toto Musuem. At JR Kokura Station you can take bus route numbers 21, 22 or 43 from platform number 1, or mumber 25 from platform number 2. Get off after about 15 minutes at the Kifunemachi bus stop.

Hours of Operation
Tues.-Sun.: 10:00-5:00
Closed on Mondays, during the end/beginning-of the year holidays, and during a summer vacation period

Admission Cost
Free

Phone
093-951-2534

Website
Toto Museum Official Website (English)

Image: All images property of Tony Vega and Japankyo.com

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