Wednesday, September 12, 2007

34. Museum Review: Tobacco & Salt Museum (Shibuya)

Located right in the middle of Shibuya, I've walked by the 'Tobacco and Salt Museum' many times and never even realized it was there. It was founded in November 1978 by the Japan Tobacco and Salt Public Corporation (the predecessor of Japan Tobacco Inc.) which monopolized the production and sale of tobacco and salt.

Upon entry, I was extremely surprised that the place was full of kids. Who takes their children to a tobacco museum? Obviously, lots of Japanese people do. I will admit that with the exception of the glorification of smoking tobacco, it is an interesting and informative museum.

There are four floors to the museum. On the 1st floor is the reception desk, auditorium, lounge corner, and museum shop. On the 2nd floor, the route of tobacco is traced around the world, and the history of tobacco in Japan is presented. There is almost no English, but the displays are really interesting. We enjoyed the cigarette packet designs, and the life sized re-creation of a traditional Japanese tobacco store from the Edo era.

The 3rd floor focuses on Japanese and foreign salt; production, natural forms,... The 4th floor is a special exhibition hall for a constantly changing series of exhibitions on themes relating to tobacco and salt. There were some science experiments going on there when we visited.Should you take your kids to this museum? I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. But, for adults wandering around Shibuya (especially smokers), it is an interesting and inexpensive way to spend an hour.
Entrance fees: 100 yen, 50 yen for children high school age and younger

Hours of Operation: 10:00 - 18:00 (last entry 17:30). Closed on Mondays. If the Monday is a national holiday, closed the next day. Also closed Dec. 29 through Jan. 3.

Address: Jinnan 1-16-8, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0041
The museum is close to Parco on Koen-Dori (street), just across from the Tobu Hotel

Phone: 03-3476-2041

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