Looking for a fun and interesting souvenir to bring home from Japan? Sure, you could stock up on chopsticks, folding fans, and Japanese snacks (which you should, by the way), but everyone does that. Don’t you want something more unique? Yeah, you do! I have just the thing for you. While it may not be very “Japanese,” it’s still a cool experience. What is it, Jennifer?! Painting mini toilets! In this post, I’ll tell you all about the INAX tile museum in Tokoname, Aichi and the fun little activity where you can paint your own mini toilet.
NOTE: This activity requires a shipping address in Japan and does not ship overseas. It is best for travellers who will stay in Japan for at least one month after the activity or those who already live in Japan and have a Japanese address.
The INAX Tile Museum
Just outside Nagoya is a small, relaxing town called Tokoname. It’s famous for pottery production and is one of the most important kiln towns in Japan. A short bus ride from Tokoname station are the INAX Museums. This museum complex is part of the LIXIL corporation, which manufactures toilets and other home products in Japan. And toilets are ceramic, right?
There is one main tile museum. You might be thinking, “a tile museum doesn’t sound very interesting, Jennifer.” Well, it is. Fo’ realz. Inside there are displays of tiles from around the world and throughout history. Replicas of blue tiles from Egypt, peg tiles from Mesopotamia, European tiles, painted tiles, raised tiles, and tiles used to make mosaics. My favourite was a small replica of a tiled mosque with the sun shining through the dome.
There is a large old kiln on site. It is now an office/museum with tables and chairs underneath the curved brick ceiling. You can walk around the kiln as well and see how the wares were fired. It’s quite interesting to walk around inside an old kiln. The area around the kiln is converted into a second floor museum, and toilets are displayed. Again, they are toilets from around the world. Squat toilets from Japan and other Asian countries, seated toilets, and old wooden toilets with chamber pots inside. Some were even painted with colourful designs.
>> Looking for more things to do in Nagoya? Read 15 Things To Do In Nagoya That Are Worth Your Time
Come for pizza before painting mini toilets
If you come at lunch time, there’s a restaurant with a pizza oven. You should make reservations before you come though, as it is small but the only restaurant on site.
>> Like food? Read Deep Fry Buffet in Japan?! Take me to Kushiya Monogatari!
The mini toilet painting is only available by reservation, which you can make on the website. In addition to mini toilets, there are other tile crafts you can do, like mosaics, clocks, and tile painting. I chose toilets, because toilets.
The mini toilet is 13 cm tall, and the activity costs ¥1500. The reservation is for one hour, and while this seems like enough time, you might feel rushed when are sitting down with your mini toilet. To help you from not getting artist’s block, there is a template you can download. I suggest you print this and come up with a design before you start painting so you don’t waste time thinking about what to do. There are also samples on the website displays in the window of the building to help give you some ideas.
When you arrive at the activity house, confirm your reservation. Next, some one will brief you on how to use the paints and how to clean up. The paint washes off easily if you make a mistake, but it’s not the easiest paint work with, IMO. You will need to keep the last 10 minutes of your reservation as a time to clean your brushes and palettes.
Once you are finished painting mini toilets, give your address and information to the desk. This is so they can ship your mini toilet to you after they fire it in the kiln. They say it will take about one month, but mine took about two weeks. It arrived just before Christmas, and now it is sitting happily on the window sill in nowhere other than the toilet. Natch.
>> Speaking of Christmas, check out Holiday season in Japan
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Look how cute!
Useful info on painting mini toilets
Address: 1-130 Okueicho, Tokoname, Aichi 479-0823
Time: One hour
Shipping: Only ships within Japan. Ships approx one month later. Cash on delivery.
Fun: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 / 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
What do you think? Does painting mini toilets look like something you would do in Japan?
>> For more to do in Aichi, read Shirakawago In May: A Quick Guide For Travel In Spring