Hyogo: Purification for used bags carried out to promote city

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A Shinto priest conducts a ceremony to purify school bags and other items in Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture.

TOYOOKA, Hyogo — A purification ceremony for used bags, including schoolbags, handbags and workbags, sent from all over Japan took place at a shrine in Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture.

Toyooka is one of the top producers of bags by municipality, and most of the domestically made bags being used today are said to be from the city.

A local industry group started the ceremony to promote Toyooka as a major bag producer in Japan. Now the ritual is held twice a year.

On Aug. 9, the ceremony was held at Yanaginomiya Shrine, which is dedicated to the worship of a deity of bags as it was founded by wicker basket vendors in 1935. A priest conducted a purification ceremony on various bags placed in front of the shrine.

One of the school bags was accompanied by thank you notes, suggesting that it contained many fond memories for children and their parents.

After the ritual, some of the bags will be recycled or reused. The cost for the service ranges from ¥2,000 to ¥4,000, depending on the size of the bag.