Toyooka, City of Bags, Pursuing Unique Product Development
Toyooka, Hyogo Pref., March 6 (Jiji Press)--The city of Toyooka in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan's No. 1 municipality in bag shipments, is coming into the limelight for its moves to develop unique items using specialties from other parts of the country as materials.
In an effort to make their products widely known, local bag manufacturers are also looking at the possibility of selling their products overseas.
Bag production in the western Japan city is believed to have its origin in "yanagi-gori" wicker trunks in the Nara period, or roughly 1,200 to 1,300 years ago. One such trunk is preserved in the Shosoin repository housing important ancient artifacts. The treasure house is in the western city of Nara, Japan's capital during the period.
Despite its long history of bag production, however, Toyooka has suffered from low name recognition as a major location of such business, partly because producers in recent years are making bags for sale under clients' brands.
After Toyooka bags were certified as a "regional brand" by the Japan Patent Office in 2006, local producers began to actively explore new sales channels, such as department stores and the Internet, to get many people to know how good they are.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]