What is Furoshiki? History, Styles, & More

by Amy Huang

A Japanese woman in a kimono holding a furoshiki wrap in her hands.

The winter holidays may have just passed, but that doesn’t mean that the gift giving season has ended just yet! There is never a shortage of things to celebrate, and sometimes that means things to get presents for: birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, new promotions at work, new home owners, baby showers, and more! So you look in your closet and you definitely don’t want to use that old snowman wrapping paper any more, but you also don’t want to show up to every single event with the same generic, floral printed paper gift wrapping! If that sounds a lot like you, then furoshiki wrapping is definitely for you! It's easy to learn how to use this Japanese gift wrapping technique, and there are lots of different patterns and styles you can choose from based on your personal style. In this guide we'll cover everything you need to know about furoshiki!

What is Furoshiki

A Japanese woman in a kimono holding a furoshiki wrap in her hands.

Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth. It’s an all purpose, flexible, timeless chic way to carry things or wrap things. It's a square piece of fabric that you can use to wrap gifts, carry items, or store things in your purse or backpack. Many people in Japan will use furoshiki to wrap their lunch or carry things day-to-day, but it’s also used as an elegant way to wrap gifts of all shapes and sizes!

Furoshiki are made from cotton and come in many different patterns and colors. Furoshiki cloth can come in such a wide range of colors and patterns to match your style and personality. If you want something more discreet, you can get a dark solid color, but if you’re looking for a nice accent piece or for a gift wrapping you can get furoshiki clothes that feature flowers, cute animals, bold designs, and more! They're usually about the size of a square pillowcase (about 30x30 inches), but they can be smaller or larger depending on how you want to use them!

History of Furoshiki

The history of furoshiki is as old as time itself. It is thought to believe that the furoshiki originated in Japan around 710 B.C. in the Nara period. Its name has changed several times over the centuries, but furoshiki is commonly used in Japan today. 

In Japan, there are several theories about how this practice came to be so popular: one story says that it started when people began carrying their food on their backs during long journeys and needed something to hold it all together; another says that merchants would wrap their products in cloth so they could transport them easily; while still another claims that samurai warriors used them while traveling through forests so they wouldn't get dirty (or eaten).

In Japanese culture, the furoshiki has been used for many different purposes, but the functionality of the furoshiki definitely remains to today!

How to use Furoshiki

Hand-wrapped gift in traditional Japanese Furoshiki style.

Just as there are many different uses for a furoshiki, there are also many different ways to tie a furoshiki. There are many different video tutorials on the internet if you have specific common gift items that you want to wrap presentably for things like a wine bottle, a square item, a circular item, an item that wants a handle, etc. Check some of them out online if you’re ever in a bind! A furoshiki makes a super useful addition to your everyday bag for carrying extra things, and it makes for a super beautiful, exciting, and fun way to wrap presents or bento boxes for the loved ones in your life!

 

@bokksu Get a furoshiki-wrapped snack box in our bio! #furoshiki #japaneseculture #holidayseason ♬ original sound - Bokksu

 

Why should you use Furoshiki

 Gifts wrapped in linen fabric with dried flowers. Furoshiki colored gifts. Zero waste concept. Reusable eco-friendly packaging.

  • Show your personality! By using a furoshiki as a gift wrapping method, this allows you to choose a beautiful and unique print picked out specifically for your gift recipient, without ending up with the whole roll of wrapping paper left over, but it shows more thought and care than just dumping it into a plastic bag. 
  • It’s great for the environment. You can use one furoshiki for multiple purposes and it will last for years! Furoshiki cloth helps you avoid single use products and is a sustainable way to wrap your presents. They’re reusable and one furoshiki can wrap so many different types of products!

Furoshiki is a very useful method that can be used in many different ways. It’s such a unique way to wrap gifts and transport your everyday items! The next time you’re looking for a unique way for your present to stand out among the others, consider using a furoshiki Japanese gift wrap! Or if you’re looking for a special present, shop our Japanese snack box subscription and share the joys of snacking with your loved ones.

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Author Bio

Amy Huang is a dedicated home chef, charcuterie board aficionado, rock climber, and volleyball player.