Tobacco and Salt Museum Tokyo たばこと塩の博物館
The Tobacco and Salt Museum is a modern, high-tech facility that looks at the various uses of tobacco and salt throughout history, both of which were government monopolies in Japan until recently.
The second floor is dedicated to salt both in Japan and other countries: salt production, salt formation, and salt production in both ancient and modern Japan.
Highlights of the salt section include a 1.4 ton piece of rock salt mined in Poland, a replica of the St. Kinga statue, a beautiful piece of carved rock salt, a replica of the original work inside the UNESCO World Heritage listed Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland.
Salt was historically processed in Japan by boiling salt water and a facility for making salt on the Noto Peninsula can now be seen inside the museum.
The tobacco section is dedicated to the origins of smoking, the spread of tobacco and the history of how tobacco came to Japan from the Americas brought by western merchants, the subsequent history of tobacco in Japan and the rest of the world. There are also exact replicas of an Edo era tobacco shop and another from the period 1975-1985.
Cigarette packets, cartons, meerschaum pipes, cigars, rope tobacco, snuff bottles (bienko in Japanese) and other smoking paraphernalia from around the globe are on display along with special exhibitions on a variety of themes including the museums own ukiyo-e collection on the third floor of the new, enlarged museum.
A reproduction of a Mayan shrine from the Palenque ruins in Mexico is also on display at the entranced, with a relief of the smoking god thought to be the oldest depiction of smoking in the world.
Admission is 100 yen for adults, 50 yen for students.
Tobacco and Salt Museum (in Japanese and English)
Hours: 10am to 6pm; Closed Mondays.
Tel: 03 3622 8801
Access to the Tobacco and Salt Museum Tokyo
Tokyo Skytree Station on the Tobu Skytree Line (8 minutes on foot)
Honjo-azumabashi Station on the Toei Asakusa Line (10 minutes on foot)
Oshiage Station on the Hanzomon Line and Toei Asakusa Line of the Tokyo subway (12 minutes on foot)
Kinshicho Station on the Sobu Line (20 minutes on foot)