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Updated on November 7, 2011

A Japanese Patterned Paper

Chiyogami is a type of Japanese paper.  It is generally brightly colored patterned paper that is woodblock-printed. Chiyogami is commonly used today for projects like covering small boxes and books, creating origami, and making kimonos for paper dolls (anesama). The use of chiyogami through time in paper kimonos has led its evolution to follow kimono fabric patterns. Since it is much cheaper then washi paper, chiyogami is often the printed paper of choice for origami artists.

The word chiyogami can be broken down to 'chiyo' meaning a thousand generations, and 'gami' meaning paper.

What is Chiyogami?

Chiyogami, from the words 'chiyo' meaning 'thousand generation' and 'gami' and meaning 'paper', is a traditional Japanese paper. Chiyogami is stenciled or printed with a traditional Japanese motif usually in bright colors and patterns. Chiyogami is also known as "yuzen paper".

In Japan, during the Edo period (1603-1867), many established papermaking centers created chiyogami. Because it was cheaper then washi paper, it was preferred by many.

Chiyogami can be found with both ancient and modern designs. They may include traditional and natural themes such as waves, clouds, flowers, birds, and honeycombs, or they could be geometric or have more modern man-made motifs like kawaii. They also may include metallic colors, especially gold.

Chiyogami is a strong and a flexible paper usually the weight is about 70 grams per square meter (gsm).

Chiyogami paper has been traditionally used for crafts, like pepper dolls or anesama for example. It is also used in the binding of books books, the covering for small objects like small boxes, the lining of custom envelopes, and other paper projects like collages, decoupage, and stationary.

Because of it's vivid colors, chiyogami is often the paper of choice for origami enthusiasts.

Projects You Can Do

With a sheet or two of chiyogami, you can get started on one of many traditional or modern crafts.

Chiyogami Paper Shops

Order the real thing. These shops have beautiful paper for sale. Buy a few sheets, or be simply inspired with their art.


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      nifwlseirff 5 years ago

      Chiyogami and washi paper are stunning - perfect for all sorts of decorative craft projects.

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      California_Dreamin 9 years ago

      Very informative lens. I've seen washi before, but I wasn't aware of chiyogami. Definitely a 5 star lens!

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      We love Chiyogami. You have done a really good job on your lens.

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      Picture_Maker 10 years ago

      I like the lens. I have an ETSY shop with some chiyogami. Drop by and check it out.

    • Roving Band profile image

      Roving Band 10 years ago

      This is a great lens - I'm glad to be in the Japanophilia Group with you.