It's no secret that Japan is fond of its toilets.
But the nation is so chuffed with the quality of its conveniences, that its leading toilet manufacturer, Toto, has opened a museum charting the evolution of its WC, from the first flushing model in 1914 to its modern-day heated seats and elaborate rinsing mechanisms.
The Toto Museum has opened in Kitakyushu at the northern-most point of Kyushu island, where the company, which turns 100 in 2017, is based, and features 950 of its products, including lavatories designed and built for the State Guest House in Tokyo, which accommodates visiting foreign dignitaries, and bathrooms installed at the capital's Hotel New Otani for the 1964 Olympics.
The latest models of the company's famed and popular Washlet type seat, which features electric seats and an in-built bidet, are also on display. One model, the Toto Washlet S300, features a heated seat, retractable cleaning wands, a warm water massage, warm air drying and a built-in deodoriser.
The museum also charts the change in toilet culture in Japan, from rural experiences to urban living.
The museum's website says: "Toto has taken part in Japan's modernistation by achieving ideals of its founders to bring a healthy, cultural lifestyle to the Japanese people."
And toilets do play a large role in the cultural make-up of the country. Only in May did news emerge that the Japanese government was considering promoting the nation's toilets as part of a tourism plan in the run up to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
While in July, the Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation opened an exhibition where visitors could don poo-shaped hats and jump into a giant model toilet to learn about the Japanese sewer network.
In April, Toto installed a gallery of toilets at Toyko's Narita airport to showcase – and try out – some of its advanced models to travellers.
Spotless, high-tech toilets are commonplace in Japan, with nearly every household boasting a bowl plugged into the mains, and most public restrooms boasting impressive facilities. See: how to use the Japanese toilet.
The Telegraph, London