Furoshiki: The Art of Japanese Gift Wrapping

You’ve taken the time to select the perfect gift for someone – now it deserves equally thoughtful presentation. Enter furoshiki.

A traditional part of the Japanese way of life, furoshiki are squares of fabric used for carrying and storing things. They range in size, from a small handkerchief to a large Santa Claus sack.

In Japan, people love to take simple items and creatively adapt them for a variety of uses – and furoshiki is no exception! I use furoshiki all the time to wrap my daughters’ lunch boxes or to protect socks and underwear in my suitcase when traveling. Their versatility makes furoshiki a popular alternative to shopping bags and even fashion accessories! I think furoshiki are the ultimate example of minimalism in Japanese aesthetics – which is why I really love using them as gift wrap.

When using furoshiki to wrap your gift, the first step is to still your mind. As you fold and tie the fabric, focus on the person for whom the gift is intended, the gift itself and the furoshiki. You may find yourself naturally slipping into a meditative state.

“As you fold and tie the fabric, focus on the person for whom the gift is intended, the gift itself and the furoshiki.”

When you break the word “furoshiki” into its two parts, you learn about its origin – “furo” means “bath” and “shiki” means “something to spread out.” The public bath has been part of Japanese culture for centuries. People used to wrap everything they needed for the bath in a big, square cloth which they would spread out on the changing room floor to stand on while dressing and undressing.

You can use furoshiki to wrap just about anything. They look beautiful around a bottle of wine, candles and even the most oddly shaped items. But best of all, they’re reusable, which makes them a gift to the earth as well. So, if you’re wondering what to do about gift wrapping this holiday season, try picking some fabric squares that spark joy for you and use them furoshiki-style.