Car Crashes Into Japan's Oldest Toilet

Kyoto heritage worker didn't realize it was in reverse
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2022 7:29 PM CDT
Heritage Worker Crashes Car Into Japan's Oldest Toilet
Temple authorities say they were "stunned" by the extent of the damage.   (Kyoto Prefectural Board of Education)

A employee of the Kyoto Heritage Preservation Association accidentally caused serious damage to part of the city's heritage—Japan's oldest toilet. Authorities say the 30-year-old man, who had parked his car outside the toilet building at Tofukuji, started his vehicle and hit the accelerator without noticing it was in reverse, the BBC reports. The man's Toyota WiLL Vi —a 20-year-old vehicle that was only sold in Japan—smashed through the door of the wooden building at Tofukuji temple Monday morning, wrecking the ancient door and damaging interior pillars. The building at the Zen Buddhist temple is believed to be almost 700 years old. The driver immediately called police to tell them what he had done.

The toilet, which hasn't been in use for more than a century, was known as the "hyakusecchin," or hundred-person toilet, because it could accommodate at least 100 trainee monks at the temple, Kyoto cultural authorities say. The ancient latrines themselves weren't damaged. Authorities say they hope the smashed 9-foot-wide double door and other damage can be repaired within months, the Guardian reports. "We are relieved that the damage is repairable," Keishu Nagai, head of the temple's treasure house management office, told the Asahi Shimbun. "We’d like to somehow restore it to its original state." (Read more Japan stories.)

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