Introducing the Japanese bag brands of Anello and Ichizawa and their unique journeys to success

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When thinking of famous bags, we mostly think of Western brands but Japanese bags are second to none when it comes to design and quality. Today we would like to introduce two Japanese brands that have their own style - Anello and Ichizawa.

Anello - a Japanese teen favorite in this era

In the past couple of years, we have seen more people carrying backpacks with the “Anello” logo, both in Japan and abroad. In Thailand, Anello bags are widely sold, both in bag stores and department stores, but some people may not know that the Anello brand originated in Osaka, Japan.

Anello represents the Japanese brands of this era that became famous for their creativity and unique design. The popular bag series that made Anello famous was the Knapsack, which has a bag opening designed to imitate vintage Japanese purses. The design was so unique and distinctive that it became imprinted on everyone's mind and they didn’t even have to look for the logo. Due to the popularity of this series, the number of people who know about Anello has increased rapidly.

The Anello brand was developed by the Carrot Company in Osaka and first launched in 2005, starting with school backpacks that cost about 3,000 yen. They was incredibly popular among students and the working age group at that time.

However, the Anello brand had to consider a big change when the Japanese yen depreciated sharply and the manufacturing costs in China became more expensive than ever. Carrot Company's staff had long arguments about whether to reduce the number of pockets and zipper scale in order to reduce costs (and be able to sell the bags at the same price) or increase the selling price while keeping the product quality and ensuring customer satisfaction.

In the end, Anello decided to launch a new backpack design at a higher price (4,000 yen) with a bag opening that imitated a purse. This went on to become another bestselling brand under the Carrot Company. When this new backpack design was first released in November 2014, 35,000 backpacks were sold in a single year. Compared with the previous bestseller series that had sold 10,000 pieces a year, it was an overwhelming success!

At the beginning, this popular backpack series was known amongst moms as the "Mother Bag” because it could be loaded with lots of stuff without causing distortion. After they spread the word, it became more popular in the wider community.

Today this Anello bag series is still developing and last year, the company added an extra space for notebooks to appeal to the working age group who bike to work.

At the current time, Anello bags are exported to Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. In Thailand, Anello bags are now available in 31 stores.

Ichizawa Canvas Bag - elegance with a high Japanese standard

Photo credit  © Y. Kubota Studio BOW

Another brand we want to introduce is Ichizawa Shinzaburo Hanpu, which differs from Anello's style in that it is a canvas bag brand that was established more than 110 years ago in Kyoto. Up until now, the bags have been produced solely in Kyoto and although the brand has such a long history, the design never seems old, but retains its chic and classic look. The key is that the bag is made from canvas, which is convenient to carry around in daily life.

Each Ichizawa bag is handmade by professional craftsmen who are trained by the brand itself and taught through multiple generations. When becoming a craftsman of the brand, each trainee has to practice for at least 10 years before they are able to sew a real one, making the bags very exclusive.

Photo credit  © Y. Kubota Studio BOW

Ichizawa uses the highest quality fabric made from natural fibers, including colorless canvas, dyed canvas and original patterns, which are exclusively produced and sold in Kyoto. Even today, whoever wants to buy these elegant and durable bags must visit the store itself, as every bag is handmade and each one has its own, unique look. They want the customers to touch and feel the uniqueness of each bag before buying, which is the reason why they don’t sell online. The brand has such a strong ideology.

Ichizawa bags were conceived over 100 years ago at a time when canvas bags were typically made for holding containers, such as milk tanks, alcohol bottles or painting tools, each of which had its own special shape according to the product. Today, Ichizawa is still selling these special bag shapes, although they are no longer used as milk tanks but rather for their exquisite shape and classic look.

The canvas fabric is durable and long lasting but the bag is made of natural fibers, which may eventually deteriorate. So Ichizawa also offers a repair service to help maintain the beloved bags of their customers, understanding that each bag has its own story and sentimental value to the owners.

If you are a fan of classic bags with loads of details and stories, this bag brand is one that you should not miss.

Photo credit  © Y. Kubota Studio BOW

Both Anello and Ichizawa’s bags are brimming with stories and the concepts behind their origins are quite interesting, right? Although these Japanese bag brands are yet to achieve worldwide popularity like some Western brands, their quality, usability and attention to detail has been crafted in a distinctly Japanese way. In seeing this, it makes me really want to get one! If you have the opportunity to visit Japan, don’t forget to visit their shops.

Location: 602 Takabatake-cho, Higashiyama-ku  Kyoto, Japan 605-0017

Tel. +81-75-541-0436



Access: About an 8-minute walk from Sanjo station.
About a 10-minute walk from Gion Shijo station.

[Hankyu Railway]: About a 15-minute walk from Kawaramachi station.

Tourist Note JAPAN

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Tourist Note JAPAN