That’s a Wrap! Furoshiki’s Magical Simplicity

Furoshiki is Japan’s historic cloth that is the epitome of the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). Read about its eco-friendly convenience and trendiness with special guest – Tappy!


Japan is a country long known for its innovative convenience and automation. But with convenience comes many disadvantages, especially to the natural environment.

Compare the pair!

Stores around the country, especially convenience stores, automatically give your shopping in a plastic or paper bag every time you shop. Even if you only buy bottled water, it’s natural to exit the shop with your bottled water in a fresh plastic bag. Whilst it’s definitely convenient for customers, a sense of guilt is bound to it.

Photo credit: Kiwi He

So let us introduce to you historically significant aspect of Japanese culture that came before suitcases, gift wrapping paper and plastic bags – the furoshiki wrapping cloth. We’ll even show you how to fold furoshiki, a perfect alternative to standard gift wrapping this Christmas.

Tabishite Happy: Tappy, our mascot inspired by Furoshiki

You’ve probably come across this cute green creature on the homepage of our website!

This is Tappy, our blog’s mascot, as well as the weekly TV programme “Tabishite (Travel) Happy” mascot. His character design was inspired by furoshiki. That’s why he has cute, nifty knot on his head.

Japan’s peculiar but smart way to wrap

Furoshiki is a simple square cloth with deep historical roots in Japanese culture. It has been used by Japanese people for over 1,000 years. However, about 30 years ago, furoshiki use declined as plastic bags started to become widely used. The name ‘furoshiki’ literally translates to “bathing cloth”.

At first, furoshiki was used to carry clothes to and fro the sento (public bathhouse). Then it eventually became commonly used by merchants to transport their goods, as well as a form of gift wrapping. Nowadays many people use furoshiki not only as a way to wrap items, but also as a form of clothing. You can see many people wearing furoshiki as a fashionable scarf, or even a cape!

Furoshiki is a great gift wrapping option – no need for tape!

Furoshiki come in many sizes and designs. You can find sizes that can neatly wrap just about anything. It’s extremely versatile, with many different folds you can do with just one square-shaped cloth. Use it as a bento box cover, or a laptop cover. You can even make it into a bigger bag for groceries. The possibilities are endless!

How to use Furoshiki guide by Japan’s Ministry of Environment (https://www.env.go.jp/en/focus/attach/060403-5.html)

In 2006, Japan’s Ministry of Environment also released the “Mottainai Furoshiki” campaign to combat plastic bag waste in Japan. They have a handy guide showing different ways to fold furoshiki too.

How to wrap Furoshiki – Standard Fold

Need gift wrapping ideas for Christmas? Wrapping presents with furoshiki is so easy. We’ll show you how to do one of the most simple furoshiki folds – the standard fold. This style is best for rectangular and square boxes, especially box of chocolates.

Check out our step-by-step guide below:

And voila! That’s it. Just like origami but much easier. 😛

The finished product.

No need for tape, scissors, rulers, or mad skills. Just a square cloth and you can wrap a gift in just a matter of seconds.

There are many tutorials online that show you a wide range of folds you can do with furoshiki. Who knew a square sheet of cloth could be so useful and serve many functions?!

We also made a bottle bag with our furoshiki!

Furoshiki is a symbol of traditional Japanese culture but not known by many outside of Japan. Impress your friends and family during the season of giving and festivities by using furoshiki as a gift wrapping option. Or why not wrap your wine bottles in furoshiki to bring to a party?

See you next time!

Cover photo (background image) Credit: Kraig Donald (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Home_made_Bento.jpg)

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