Japan’s oldest toilet damaged by man employed to preserve Japanese culture

Tofukuji Temple where Japan’s oldest toilet was damaged (Instagram )
Tofukuji Temple where Japan’s oldest toilet was damaged (Instagram )

A Japanese worker whose role is preserving cultural heritage accidentally ploughed his car into the country’s oldest toilet in a centuries-old Buddhist temple.

Tofukuji Temple in the western Kyoto region houses a toilet said to date back to the 15th century, winning it designation as an important cultural asset.

But the original wooden door leading to the site was “ruined” after the driver, a 30-year-old man from the Kyoto Heritage Preservation Association, accidentally backed his car into it on Monday morning, Japanese police said.

Having parked in front of the toilet, the man hit the accelrator to restart the car without realising he was still in reverse, invesigtators said.

A Kyoto Police official added: “We’ve been told it’s going to require a lot of work to restore.”

Walls inside also sustained minor damage, but the actual latrines - two rows of pits - survived intact, Norihiko Murata, who is in charge of cultural heritage preservation revealed.

The toilet was traditionally used by monks but is no longer in use.

“It is of course disappointing that part of this important cultural property has been damaged like this,” Mr Murata Murata said.

“We will discuss how to restore it in a way that will retain as much of its cultural value as possible.”