Many a tourist has come back from trips to Japan raving about the advancement of toilet technology and overall restroom quality, and this has even been joked about in a lot of popular entertainment today.

Most of these pleasant (but hopefully private) bathroom experiences are likely thanks to TOTO Ltd., a name ubiquitous with toilets, bathroom equipment, and the Ark of The Covenant of the Commode known as the washlet.

Toto has opened up the “TOTO Museum” in the city of Kitakyushu, where one can witness over 900 displays, which chronicle the historical progression of the company’s toilet development. This ranges from the country’s very first unit bathroom at the Hotel New Otani for the 1964 Olympics, to the advent of western units, and the popularization of the washer. Here is just a sample of some visuals:

As you can see, it's not all black and white historical stuff. You can even buy some cute miniature toilets to take home with you. (We wouldn't recommend them for personal use.)

Admission is free and the sterile toilet setup makes for a surprisingly pretty atmosphere, closed only on Mondays and end of the year holidays. It's open from 10:00AM-5:00PM. Below you can see two of the standout displays.

I'd love to tell you that these are exactly what they look like, but maybe that's putting too much pressure on your imagination! On top is a urinal designed for women (the familiar design immediately makes me worry that I've used one by accident), and the bottom picture is a toilet-bike combo, which I suppose is for when you gotta go when you gotta go when you're on the go!

So if you find yourself with time to kill in Kyushu, check out this porcelain temple and spend more time thinking about the restroom than you (hopefully) have before! You'll at least walk away with appreciation for the progress we have made.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.