What is Furoshiki, and Where Did They Come From?


Furoshiki is a beautiful fabric with Japanese design, often being used to wrap and transport things. It’s a work of art, also a piece of traditional Japanese history. It is eco-friendly, a great solution to our plastic problems these days. So, what is furoshiki, how do we use it, and how did it become so popular?

What is Furoshiki, and Where Did They Come From?

Furoshiki is one of Japan’s most historically significant everyday accessories. It came in use over 1,200 years back. However, it was known as Tsutsumi at that time which means wrapping. It was first used in the Nara Period (Tsutsumi) as a cloth that helps in protecting precious items and it was often used in Japanese temples.

In the Heian period (794-1185), it was used to wrap clothes. Also, in the Muromachi period (1336-1573) it is used by lords who didn’t want to get their clothes such as japanese kimonos, yukata etc all mixed up.

Around 600 years ago, Shogun Yoshimitsu Ashikaga constructed a bathhouse in Kyoto and invited others to join him, to ensure that no one accidentally exchanges their kimono with someone else’s, many of them wrapped their clothes with Furoshiki. It is where furoshiki formed from the characters ‘furo’ which simply means bath and ‘shiki’ which means to spread. It became more and more popular and people started using it to transport all types of things such as food, delicate items, and gifts, etc.

What is Furoshiki made of?

Furoshiki comes in different types of fabrics such as silk, cotton, rayon, nylon, canvas, etc.

Cotton is a versatile fabric used for wrapping bags, shawls, basically anything. Japanese cotton cloth is of high quality and easier to clean. In addition, it is more affordable than silk and lasts longer

Rayon provides the texture of silk, but it is costly if we compare it with other fabrics. However, it has longer durability than silk but does not go well with water so it’s best to use it for gift wrapping.

Silk has lustrous color and a comforting texture therefore it’s is used as a perfect gift wrapping cloth on occasions for expensive gifts. Japanese silk is often silk crepe, it is a bit rougher to the touch than untextured silk.

Polyester is best for gift wrapping if you don’t have enough budget. It is easy to wash and looks good in bright and bold colors. The advantage of using polyester furoshiki is that it is water-resistant.

How to Use Furoshiki?

With the historical uses of furoshiki, there are plenty of modern-day uses for it. In 2006, Tokyo organized a furoshiki fair in celebration of the furoshiki and its uses as a Japanese traditional wrapping cloth, which has contributed to its popularity today. According to a news report, during the fair approx 800 furoshiki were purchased by people in two weeks’ events.

Modern-day uses for Japanese furoshiki include:

There is a great increase in modern-day uses of furoshiki if we compare it with an ancient period. Some of the modern uses of Furoshiki are:-

  • For packing lunch boxes
  • wrapping gifts
  • transporting glass
  • ceramic or fragile goods
  • Hamper
  • Temporary bandage

Moreover, its fine patterns can be hung on the wall as art. It can also be worn as a shawl over the shoulders. You can also use furoshiki bags that come in all shapes and sizes. In addition, it looks great because of its beautiful print and can be used as a tablecloth, or a picnic hamper. Moreover, its importance increase in the modern age because it is used as a plastic substitute.

In Conclusion: – Furoshiki is a beautiful additional gift itself. You can use it for wrapping exclusive and casual things. Furoshiki fabric is washable, reusable and very useful. Check NOVMTL, our online store for more designs of furoshiki, and other items such as kimono, yukata Japanese socks, handmade accessories etc.



Leave a Reply