Furoshiki: The Japanese Art of Wrapping

Have you heard of ‘furoshiki‘? Furoshiki are a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth traditionally used to transport clothes, gifts or other goods. In my personal opinion, the cloth were too formal to use for young people about a decade ago. However, I have been loving using furoshiki for ten years. I was looking for an eco bag at that time to avoid using too many plastic bags then I happend to find a stylish furoshiki website by Kakefuda. Formal furoshiki are made with silk and often used for special occasions but they made ones with cotton which are suitable for everyday use, and are washable. Also they turned Kisshou Monyou patterns (Japanese traditional patterns for good fortune and ward off bad luck.) into modern and casual styles. I visited their shop in Kyoto and fell in love with their artwork. Fusoshiki have become familiar to young people for the last ten years as they have realized the simple square cloth are eco-friendly. I have several sizes of furoshiki and use them for work, shopping and travel. Today I would love to show you about how we can use them in everyday life. Before I begin, this is the Kakefuda website. Actually this is a famous shop since Mick Jagger visited their shop and bought their furoshiki!

The Kakefuda Website (English): http://www.moxiico.com/
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Photo: http://www.moxiico.com/

The Kakefuda Website (Japanese): http://www.kakefuda.co.jp/index.html

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Photo: http://www.kakefuda.co.jp/index.html

Let’s take a look at the brief information about furoshiki. As you can see in this video, there are several shops that sells furoshiki especially in Kyoto.

 

 

The Basic Knot

The knot is the key element in wrapping with furoshiki. This video shows how to tie/untie a knot. Do not worry, it is very easy. You can learn about it by practicing a few times. It is very simple to tie a knot yet very strong, and yet very easy to untie it as well. Isn’t it amazing?

 

 

Basic Furoshiki Wrapping

This video explains how to wrap; two books, two bottles, a chocolate box and how to make a bag.

Speaking of a bag, this is my favorite wrapping. What I like about this tote bag is that I can carry many stuff in it so I use it as my sub bag. It is very useful for work or shopping. The instruction is only in Japanese but I hope you can tell easily with pictures.

http://www.kakefuda.co.jp/wrapping/wrapping_05.html#wrapping_05
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Photo: http://www.kakefuda.co.jp/wrapping/wrapping_05.html#wrapping_05

So, furoshiki can be a great material for wrapping the presents too. Here is a wrapping for a bottle. With this method, you don’t need to bring a paper bag anymore. By the way, I really love this kind of plum pattern. It is so lovely.

Some people use smaller furoshiki to wrap bento (lunch) boxes. I used to bring my bento box to school or work every day with this wrapping.

With this wrapping, I use bigger furoshiki to wrap my clothing and underwear and pack them in my suitcase when I travel. It is a very easy way to organize things I carry. And I always bring a few extra furoshiki so that I can wrap new clothing that I buy during the trip. This is a photo of my suitcase when I traveled last month. Two red ones in the left and a white one with leaves pattern, a light blue one and a green frogs one in the right are my furoshiki.
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Photo: Discovery Japan

If you want to know more about wrapping with furoshiki, you can check tutorial videos on YouTube, or you can check with books as well. There are several books on furoshiki written in English. I gave this book to my dear friend before and he really loved it. Many wonderful and inspiring wrappings are shown in the book. You can take a look when you click a “Look inside” button in the following amazon website.

Wrapping with Fabric: Your Complete Guide to Furoshiki-The Japanese Art of Wrapping 
https://www.amazon.com/Wrapping-Fabric-Complete-Furoshiki-Japanese/dp/4805313145/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
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Photo: Discovery Japan

 

How to Make Your Own Furoshiki

I hope you find the article on furoshiki interesting so far. Perhaps you want to try using one now. Then you may wonder where you can get one. If you have a plan on visiting Japan in the near future, you are very lucky: go visit a furoshiki shop and find your favorite one. You can get ones at shops like LOFT or Tokyu Hands as well. Even if you do not have a plan to travel Japan for now, maybe you can find a shop that sells ones in your city/country. But probably it can be hard for most of you here to find ones if you do not live in Japan. But do not worry. Furoshiki is basically almost a square cloth. So why don’t you make one by yourself? You would love your own furoshiki if you choose your favorite pattern and take your time to make it. This website might help you.

Omiyage Blogs: Meke Your Own Furoshiki 
http://www.omiyageblogs.ca/2010/09/make-your-own-furoshiki.html

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Photo: http://www.omiyageblogs.ca/2010/09/make-your-own-furoshiki.html

And when you use or make furoshiki, you should prepare a proper size for the object you want to wrap. The following website shows you recommended sizes of furoshiki for things like bottle(s), bags or boxes. My favorite tote bag shown above is 105cm long.

eco wrapping with furoshiki the website
http://eco-wrapping.com/howto

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Photo: http://eco-wrapping.com/howto

Bring a furoshiki in your bag when you go out and it will help you in many ways!

Source: http://www.moxiico.com/, http://www.kakefuda.co.jp/index.html, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOm88Q-CCLQ, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GTRdG73aG0, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn6zdyCAwJshttp://www.kakefuda.co.jp/wrapping/wrapping_05.html#wrapping_05https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YrDNH7nq-I, https://www.youtube.com/watch v=z7qBKTleWTchttps://www.amazon.com/Wrapping-Fabric-Complete-Furoshiki-Japanese/dp/4805313145/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=, http://www.omiyageblogs.ca/2010/09/make-your-own-furoshiki.html, http://eco-wrapping.com/howto