Products (Japanese Traditional Products)
Accurate patterning, painstaking stitching, a commitment to improving both design and durability through the use of more parts than ordinary bags, and an attention to finish with each handle meticulously filed by hand. Toyooka bags are shining examples of artisan skill, and stand shoulder to shoulder with the big French and Italian bag brands.
Today, Toyooka produces the highest volume of bags of anywhere in Japan. Toyooka, known as the ‘City of Bags’, even has vending machines selling its most famous product. There is a dedicated industrial park for bag production in the city, too, a clear indication of how important the industry is to the entire city.
The history of bag making in Toyooka is a long one. In the second half of the 19th century, Toyooka began production of bags by adding a belt, intended to be used as a fastener, and a handle to traditional Japanese trunks known as “kohri.” This early bag was known as a kohri kaban, or kohri bag. Prior to this, Toyooka had been a center of kohri production and boasted advanced production technology in the field. This technological legacy was continued and improved upon to create Toyooka City’s kohri bag.
At the beginning of the 20th century, lacquer began to be used to coat the bags and a front lock was added too; this new style of bag was put on sale as the Toyooka bag.
Since its launch, the bag has been constantly improved, with the introduction of new materials and electric sewing machines. By 1989, bags manufactured in Toyooka accounted for 80% of Japan’s bag production.
Today, of all the bags manufactured in Toyooka, only those which meet the criteria set by the Hyogo Prefecture Bag Manufacturing Union can be described as Toyooka bags. In 2006, Toyooka bags received the only trademark registration ever awarded to a category of bag from the Japan Patent Office. This means that the Toyooka bag and the quality it represents are now protected not just by its regional manufacturing union, but by the national government too.