Tobacco & Salt Museum – Tokyo, Japan - Atlas Obscura

Tobacco & Salt Museum

This museum is dedicated to the cultural history of tobacco and salt, once monopolized in Japan.  

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The Tobacco & Salt Museum first opened in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo in 1978. The museum was founded by the Japan Monopoly Corporation (now Japan Tobacco Inc). At the time, tobacco and salt were under protections by a government monopoly, abolished in 1985 and 1997, hence the themes of the museum. 

In 2015, the museum moved to Yokokawa in the Sumida ward, into a renovated warehouse building. Today, permanent exhibitions are split into two sections, salt on the second floor and tobacco on the third. The museum also host several temporary exhibits throughout the year. 

The museum houses more than 30,000 items including collections of rock salt specimens, Pre-Columbian artifacts, ukiyo-e, antique pipes, tobacco paraphernalia, and vintage posters. There are also life-size replicas of an Edo period tobacco shop, as well as one that would have been commonplace during the 1970s. Be sure to check out the museum’s piece of Polish rock salt that weighs close to two tons. 

Know Before You Go

The museum is a 10-minute walk from Oshiage Station and is open every day except for non-holiday Mondays. The hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The entrance fee only costs 100 yen for adults and 50 yen for students.

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