While Suwon is well-known for its Hwaseong Fortress, there are many other hidden gems that you can explore here as well. Mr. Toilet House, also known as ‘Haewoojae’, is a museum where you can learn about the history and culture of toilets all around the world. ‘Haewoojae’ is derived from the word ‘Haewooso’, which refers to toilets in Buddhist Temples. It is a room where you can relieve your worries. In order to commemorate the World Toilet Association and to spread knowledge about the importance of toilets throughout the world, Mr. Sim Jae-duck rebuilt his 30-year-old house into the shape of a toilet and named it ‘Haewoojae’.
|Express City Bus||1009, 3003, 7790, 7800, 7900|
|Intra-city Bus||5, 63, 64, 65, 92, 98, 99, 310, 990|
|Town Shuttle Bus||2-1, 2-5, 21|
Address: 463 Jangan-ro, Jangan-gu, Suwon
Admission Fees and Operation Hours
The admission to the museum is free.
Note that the museum is closed on Mondays (or the following Tuesday if a public holiday falls on a Monday), January 1st, Lunar New Year’s Day and Chuseok.
A Brief History
For a long time, public toilets were considered to be unclean areas. Mr Sim Jae-duck always had a profound interest in the environment and culture. During his time as mayor of Suwon City, he keenly felt the necessity of improving toilets while promoting match events for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea. In 1996, Suwon City declared its intent to build the most beautiful public toilets in the world and executed the Toilet Culture Movement. Furthermore, he managed to establish the nation’s first department devoted exclusively to toilets in order to administer public toilet improvement. Suwon’s Beautiful Toilet Culture Campaign paved the way for toilets to be reinvented as cultural spaces. They were no longer a place to go and take of one’s “business”, but a place where people could meditate, rest, view exhibitions and feel reinvigorated afterwards.
Mr. Toilet House at a Glance
Outside the museum, there are several unique toilet-themed sculptures.
Look at this cute, white bear pooping!
On the first floor, Mr Toilet House consists of two thematic zones – ‘History of Toilet’ and ‘Science in Toilet’. The one that caught my attention the most is the space toilet. It provides informative content on how does the toilet work in space and offers a replica of toilet in space. Fun fact! Since there is no gravity in the universe, the poop and urine from the body won’t fall down. Hence, in space, the toilet is equipped with a vacuum inhaler to suck the urine and poop. Also, the toilet in space is equipped with a variety of devices such as foot straps, rings and seat belts to help the astronauts to sit on the toilet correctly. The collected poop and urine are then recycled. Urine is purified, and it becomes usable water.
Apart from that, there are plenty exhibitions regarding the development of flushing toilets, diverse toilet cultures in the world and globalization of Toilet Culture Movement.
These are some of the traditional toilets that were used in Joseon Dynasty, Japan and China.
Special Exhibition Hall
On the second floor, there is a special exhibition hall where you can enjoy interesting toilet-related displays. When I visited the museum last January, the exhibition that was on showcase was “Poop-seller Sim Gae-ttong”. It is a story about Korean traditional toilet and manure through a fictional character named Sim Gae-ttong who lived during Joseon Dynasty. Through this exhibition, you can learn how human faeces and urine were used as significant composting resources before chemical fertilizers were invented.
Toilet Culture Park
Toilet Culture Park is located right next to Mr Toilet House. Stepping into the park, you will see various toilets used throughout the long history of Korea, from chamber pots of the Baekje and Silla Dynasty to the portable toilet for king used in Joseon Dynasty, known as ‘Maehwateul’. This is called ‘Byeongi’ – a female toilet and ensured seating comfort by placing the front part high and back part low. The pointed edge allowed the easy pouring of manure into fields.
This weird-looking urinal equipment is called ‘Hoja’ from Baekje Kingdom. It looks like an animal with its mouth open, showing humorous creativity.
Besides, there are many other toilet-related sculptures that you can see throughout the park.
Personally, I think this museum is extremely informative for both kids and adults. It educates us on the history of toilet depending on the evolution of mankind and scientific features of toilet. Moreover, it carries a very important message about cleanliness and sanitation. If you are a fan of unique, quirky museums, make sure you pay a visit to Mr Toilet House! Click here to check out a one-day trip itinerary in Suwon.