March 21, 2023

What are Furoshiki?

Furoshiki: A traditional Japanese square wrapping cloth, they are zero-waste and can be used time and time again. Primarily used for gift wrapping but they can be used in a multitude of different ways such as, a carry bag, lunch/food wrap, can be hung for home decor. Use any way you like, they are very versatile.  

Brief History

Traditionally furoshiki are made from materials such as cotton or silk are typically square and come in a variety of sizes. 

The practice of wrapping in Japanese cloth in Japan dates back to the Nara Period (710 to 794). At the time, the furoshiki cloths were called 'Tsutsumi', which translates to 'wrapping', and were used during this period as protection for precious temple objects. The objects, food or gifts were wrapped and neatly knotted, ready for transportation. 

During the Muromachi period (1136 to 1573) the cloths received their name 'furoshiki' which meaning as 'furo' translating to bath and 'shiki' to spread. The name is said to have come from the bath-houses. At the bath-houses the high-ranking visitors would wrap their kimonos in the furoshiki cloth, the cloth was usually decorated with a family monogram or crest, so that it was easily recognisable after bathing. Hence the translation of the word 'bath spread'. 

The Edo era is where the furoshiki began to grow in popularity as access to bath-houses for the general public increased and they gained the right to have family crests. The Japanese custom of wrapping items in the furoshiki, became widely used - wrapping gifts, food etc. 

Today is it seen as a thoughtful alternative to other wrapping methods. 

Modern furoshiki can be made from fabrics of various thicknesses, including silk, chirimen, cotton, rayon, and nylon.

In 2006, Japanese Minister of the Environment, Yuriko Koike, showcased a specially-designed furoshiki cloth to promote environmental awareness.

Did you know? In 2020, The Observer reported a growing interest in furoshiki in the UK, in part as a response to its perceived greater environmental sustainability compared to traditional single-use wrapping paper!


Click here to see our collection of Furoshiki

How to Fold Furoshiki? 

Want to know how to fold your furoshiki? Take a look at the guides below from our supplier:  



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