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Destination: Suwon Toilet Museum (AKA Hae-woo-jae, AKA Mr. Toilet’s House) – UPDATED

March 19, 2012 - Chris Backe

CISK note: I read a story about how this place had ‘opened’ in July, and thus made it a point to revisit. The new pictures sweeten the pot, perhaps, and round out the exhibits inside with some additional exhibits outside.

Since when did an off-the-beaten-path tourist attraction go by three names? Depending on who you talk to, the name might be the Suwon Toilet Museum, 해우재 (Hae-woo-jae), or the Mr. Toilet House. The second one is on the official tourist brochure, so 해우재 or Hae-woo-jae it is.

The only toilets around you can actually use.

This has got to be the biggest case of turning a disadvantage into a life’s goal. Born in the outdoor toilet of his mother’s house, he grew up with the nickname Gettongi (literally, dog sh!t). Sim Jae Duck (심재덕) eventually became the mayor of Suwon city, and eventually picked out a new nickname for himself: Mr. Toilet. After helping to establish the World Toilet Association in 2007, this two-story toilet-shaped building was built celebrating the man, the legend, the toilet. He passed away in January 2009, and now that the site has been completed, it’s a full-blown tourist attraction.

A few examples, just in case modern indoor plumbing has managed to escape you.

A few of the more unusual signs you might find from countries around the world.

A few personal effects from Mr. Toilet himself – medals, identification cards, and nameplates.

Part of the first floor history lesson – public toilets have come a long way since the 1950′s.

Mr. Toilet himself. Rest in peace, sir.

While the colorful brochure suggests more to the story beyond the toilet-shaped house, there’s no easy way to get a good picture of the entire ‘bowl’.

~~~PSST – this part’s the updated part =)  ~~~

OK, so it’s September now, and this mural is what will greet you. Just what exactly was guy eating to produce some pink dung?

Now in front of the main museum, this poor guy stood as a photo op for any number of elementary-schoolers and toddlers that waddled up while one of their parents snapped the picture.

Go ahead, take one guess what these were used for.

In case you’ve heard of Jeju’s black pigs, this is how they get fed.

Yeah, no idea what’s going on here… Some of these seem… pained about the process…

For anyone outside of Korea, this is your classic Korean toilet bowl AKA the ‘squatty potty’ you won’t see in most tourist attractions.

It’s an interesting enough diversion, far enough off the beaten path, but definitely a tourist attraction the local city government doesn’t mind playing up.

Ratings (out of 5 taeguks - How do I rate destinations?):

Ease to arrive:

Foreigner-friendly:

Convenience facilities:

Worth the visit:

Address: Gyeonggi-do Suwon-si, Jangan-gu, Imok-Dong, 186-3
Korean address: 경기도 수원시 장안구 이목동 186-3

Directions: Suwon station, line 1, exit 2. Make a U-turn and walk towards the bus platforms Take bus 92 or 310 and ride to Dongwon High School (동원고교 – Dong-won go-gyo). Face the underpass and turn right at the intersection towards the high school – it’s about 500 meters and you’ll see it on the right.

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.

Hours: 10am-5pm (10am-6pm March-October) – closed Mondays
Admission: free
Phone: 031-271-9777
Website: http://www.haewoojae.com

Agoda

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