Bags are practical, everyone knows that, but, what people often don't often think about is that bags also give us a special insight into the level of technology and sophistication of a society. Exhibit A, enter the world famous, almost, Japan Bag museum.
Most people stumble upon it by accident when visiting Tokyo's district Asakusa but, being bag nerds, we actually B lined there from our hotel in Shinjuku.
The museum is on the 7th and 8th floor of a disgruntled looking building but the interior really amazes you with its clean lines, hello it is Japan, and the accuracy, precision and care taken to present the pieces. The museum owns about 600 pieces of which 300 on display. It is divided into 5 categories. History of Bags; Tips for bags; world bags collection; bags connected to a specific historical event and a themed exhibition area. We loved all of them but we drooled over the travel section a lot.
Mr Ryusaku Shinkawa, a hero to us when it comes to luggage, believed that the production of bags is a 'divine vocation' and so , (what else can you do when the divine calls?) set out to create what is still Japan's leading luggage company Ace in 1961. His was no ordinary 'divine vocation' though, Mr Shinkawa, view the world and its history through bags as well.
In 1975 he decided to share his view of the world through travel bags and highlight the transformation over the years as a reflection of people's differences in habits and culture.
Not many people, maybe circus performers or Madonna, would travel with a cushion top wardrobe steamer trunk these days. But, in the long voyage across the atlantic in the 1930's it made perfect sense to have your own wardrobe in your cabin. These items just unleashed our imagination and we were transported to a world of champagne and caviar aboard fancy ships moving passengers slowly but in style from A to B.
Our absolute favourites were a Black Cabin Trunk made by the French Company Morabito which allegedly used 12 crocodiles, not acceptable these days but hey it's there now, to make. A Koch and sons's suitcase made in the USA in 1974 and the very 80's luggage used by the Japanese delegation.
The world bag museum in Japan is free of charge and very quiet, a bonus in a super expensive and busy city.
Address 1-8-10, Komagata, Taito-Ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone number 81-3-3847-5680 (If you speak Japanese)
Subway stop : Asakusa.
Click here fro trip advisor reviews and maps.
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