Mr. Toilet House – Suwon, South Korea - Atlas Obscura
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Suwon, South Korea

Mr. Toilet House

The toilet-shaped house of South Korea's sanitation pioneer is now a museum to the john. 

Sim Jae-Duck, the one-time mayor of the city of Suwon, was born in a toilet at his grandparents’ house, which may explain his life-long obsession with healthy latrines.

As mayor of Suwon in the 1990s and early 2000s, he led an effort to clean and beautify the city’s public toilets. He later founded the World Toilet Association, dedicated to doing the same for the world. Appropriately, he became known as “Mr. Toilet” by reputation.

In 2007, in honor of the founding of the WTA, he demolished his home and had a new one made, designed by Go Gi-wong to look like a giant toilet. It was Sim’s dream house. He even named it Haewoojae, which translates to “a house to satisfy anxiety,” which is how restrooms are referred to in Korean temples.

After he died, the house was donated to the city and turned into a toilet museum. The house itself is the largest toilet sculpture in Korea, and has two floors of exhibitions about how important toilets are to the health of a society. Toilet-themed art is exhibited inside the museum and around on the grounds, much of which, including a giant golden pile of poop, make for great photo ops. Take in the oversized ‘squatty potty’, the sometimes-pained statues all trying to take care of business, and a model of how the pigs on Jeju-do get to be black.

Know Before You Go

Busses 64, 65, and 98 go to Dongwon High School (동원고교 - Dong-won go-gyo), from which it is a ten minute walk.Alternatively, start from Sadang station in southern Seoul (line 4, exit 4, then take a U-turn to the bus stop)  and take red bus 7800. It's a bit of a ride, as you're getting out of Seoul for awhile. Eventually, you'll get off at the Dongwon High School bus stop (동원고교 - Dong-won go-gyo). From the bus stop, walk to the intersection and turn right. It's about 500 meters and you'll see it on the right.