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How To Do Japanese Gift-Wrapping

Updated on May 2, 2016

In Japanese culture, gift-wrapping can be as important as the gift

Japanese-style gift-wrapping, called tsutsumi, uses paper and cloth to create simple but elegant wrappings for gifts, presents and packages. Furoshiki refers to using a large piece of cloth for the wrapping. These techniques are perfect for birthdays, holidays, weddings, or even everyday marketing and shopping.  They also support and promote recycling and recycled goods.

Trying to figure out wrapping paper with these methods gets really easy, as single sheets of paper work well to not only wrap most common items, but that's exactly the sort of paper size that is best for reuse. Go for thicker, handmade papers which will hold up better to multiple folds and creases. Or try a furoshiki, a cloth wrap.

Gentle colors and contrasting accents are often hallmarks of Asian gift-wrap but there are occasions or styles where you will see bold colors and vibrant patterns. Although you do get a lot of red for good luck and blessings.

Here is some history, links and videos providing information and tips so you can create these fantastic but simple works of gift-wrapped art for yourself! Learn how to make your wrapping more eco-friendly, find a few ways to skip the tape and make the wrapping as memorable as whatever you are giving inside.

Folding & Wrapping in Japan - origata, origami, tsutsumi and furoshiki

These different actions, all of which manipulate paper or cloth without any cutting, can be used for tsutsumi. The Japanese have a history of economical use of both cloth and paper, and the lack of cutting distinctly sets it apart from European/Western techniques.

If you like the ideas of using recycled wrapping paper, or moving away from the use of desposable paper for packaging, you should give tsutusmi a try!

Furoshiki - Cloth Wrapping - the bath cloth gets reborn

Traditionally, furoshiki was a square "bath cloth." You used it to carry your bath items and fresh clothes to the public baths and you carried your wet bath items and former change of clothes home. A very precise but simple method of tying produces a neat carrying bundle.

Furoshiki can be large or small, silk or cotton, plain or fancy, but their main defining characteristic is that they tend to be square.

The use of this type of personal carry-all is something that is being encouraged in Japan as a way of reducing the many tons of plastic trash produced just by shopping bags in that country annually. I think of this as a great companion to a European string marketing bag for people who like to use cloth or resuable bags. The string bag can hold larger items and a furoshiki works for smaller items when doing small errands and grocery shopping

Wrapping Up - comments and feedback - Japanese gift-wrapping and gift exchange experiences

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    • EricKnight profile image

      EricKnight 5 years ago

      Awesome ideas here for gift-wrapping. Thanks for sharing...

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 5 years ago from Redcar

      An interesting selection - thank you.

    • rosiembanks profile image

      rosiembanks 5 years ago

      Oh, wow, I didn't know they did this in Japan! These are really beautiful. Great lens!

    • MelloKnitty LM profile image

      MelloKnitty LM 5 years ago

      I love this, for the appearance and for the eco-friendliness! Thanks :)

    • Euryale Sinclair profile image

      Euryale Sinclair 5 years ago from The Left Coast

      @BetsiGoutal1: You don't have to wait for Christmas. It works great for any gift-giving occasion!

    • BetsiGoutal1 profile image

      BetsiGoutal1 5 years ago

      Beautiful! I wonder if it would work to meld two cultures, and use a pretty pashmina shawl as your wrapping? I bet that would be very pretty. :) Thanks for sharing all these great ideas and techniques. I can't wait to try this next Christmas.

    • PinkstonePictures profile image

      PinkstonePictures 5 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      It's like two gifts in one

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 5 years ago

      I should have figured this out from what I know of Japanese culture, but I didn't. Thank you for the wonderful information!

    • Vikki w profile image

      Vikki w 5 years ago

      very creative...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very nice.

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 6 years ago

      Beautiful. I wouldn't want to unwrap the gift.

    • cheech1981 profile image

      cheech1981 6 years ago

      very cool!

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 6 years ago from Australia

      There is a definite protocol in exchanging gifts with Japanese and gift wrapping is a part of that.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 6 years ago

      It is true that in Japanese culture, gift-wrapping can be as important as the gift itself... so you give me great ides in this lens


    • awestricken1 profile image

      Ken Parker 6 years ago from Tacoma, Wa

      Very nice read/.

    • profile image

      MaartjeJepsen 6 years ago

      Very interesting read!

    • profile image

      ourmarket 6 years ago

      Nice lens interesting

    • profile image

      Joan4 6 years ago

      Oh I want to try this Japanese gift-wrapping! Thank you! Merry Christmas!

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 6 years ago from Virginia

      I'm all thumbs, wonder if I could do this. Great and interesting lens.

    • Scotties-Rock profile image

      Clairissa 6 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      Love it! Too bad I am all wrapped for xmas. Happy holidays

    • profile image

      andradar 6 years ago

      Very interesting ideas! Great lens!

    • profile image

      Lindrus 6 years ago

      Great lens and a great idea to replace those plastic bags! Looks so beautiful and easy! Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks, for introducing me to new things.

    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 6 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      :-( sad all my gifts are already wrapped... But thank you so much for including the video to show how, as written directions & diagrams do not always help. And the How To Tie Furoshiki I hope the bandana I got from lush would be big enough to try it on, as they use it as a gift wrap.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      It is very interesting. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Ahyat111 6 years ago

      This is my first time learning about Japanese gift Wrapping. Cool lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      very useful lens, thank you for posting it!

    • TheFalconPress profile image

      The Falcon Press 6 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      I love the Furoshiki video and gift wrapping instruction. And the Etiquette of gift-giving is valuable info to have.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Cool lens - the videos really help with the how-to of Japanese gift-wrapping.

    • profile image

      chidchan 6 years ago

      If you can wrap the gift for someone with one of these styles. The gift will more valuable. And the receiver is really appreciate.

    • sysuns profile image

      sysuns 6 years ago

      very informative

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I had seen this style of gift wrapping before and thought it would be awesome. Thanks!

    • profile image

      ElizabethWallaceUKPOP 6 years ago

      In my teenage years, I used to use fine material to wrap presents adding ribbon and tree sprigs (usually a piece with a cone on it) for Christmas presents. Then I'd add a little paint glitter or lines of gold/silver on to same from a tiny tins of aircraft model paint. Organza and synthetics in assorted patterns and colours came up best. It was an art form and everyone I knew then was into dressmaking, so they would use the scap of fabric somewhere in their creative designs. [So many people made patchwork quilts allowing them to use up all their material scraps.] These days there are so many glitzy papers that are relatively inexpensive and people do not sew since same is time consuming. Time has been taken away because everyone rushes around all the time doing everything, predominantly working for 'the man'. What happened to the days of being at home, being a homemaker, specialiazing in cooking, sewing, keeping the home clean and tidy? These days when you come home from work, there is ever so much work for you to do at home. People are just stressed out from having to constantly run around.

      A lot has been lost. It's the societal pressure on people to afford a more modern style of living and to 'keep up with the Jones' next door'. This translates to quick fix solutions...glitzy paper for christmas gift wrapping; bows and ribbbons purchased all colour co-ordinated in a box. When occasionally you do get a Japanese style wrapped up's so different that you don't want to open it and spoil the wrapping. My nephew has a Japanese wife, and she says that these days, they also don't do it much any more. She says its easier to also go with the commercial flow.

    • Sara Krentz profile image

      Sara Krentz 6 years ago from USA

      Had never heard of this before; the wrappings are lovely!

    • profile image

      miles3311 6 years ago

      im liking this lens... how you wrapped a gift adds beauty and elegance. nice job.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 6 years ago

      I love this lens! Wrapping a gift should be part of the gift, I've always thought - those store-bought gift bags may be convenient, but they don't show the same loving care as a creative treatment like this. And for those of us with a fondness for origami, Japanese style of gift wrap is just perfect!

    • profile image

      glowchick 6 years ago

      Wow! Very interesting way to present gifts to those you love. Well done!

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 6 years ago from Missouri

      What a great idea! It sure beats using newspaper when you run out of paper and can't get to the store!

    • RaisedVegetableG profile image

      RaisedVegetableG 6 years ago

      Absolutely stunning. I have never seen this concept before, but I love it. I think its too late for me to use the idea this christmas, but I will be returning to this lens over the coming year.

    • profile image

      LisaGirlGenius 6 years ago

      I love this lens!! Where's the super thumbs up button! I love gift giving, wrapping, and being crafty and creative. Thanks for such a great lens!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      This is a nice alternative to traditional gift wrapping. Very pretty!

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 6 years ago

      This is great. I just might give it a try, thanks.

    • queenofduvetcover profile image

      queenofduvetcover 6 years ago

      This is a wonderful way of wrapping gifts, thank you for this great lens =)

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 6 years ago

      VERY useful lens.

    • profile image

      entertainmentev 6 years ago

      Makes the gift stand out and the recipient feel even more special. Love it!

    • curious0927 profile image

      curious0927 6 years ago

      Really good stuff, Am always looking for new interesting ideas I've yet to discover. Great Lens. love tutorials.

    • LadyCharlie profile image

      LadyCharlie 6 years ago

      very interesting. Nice lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • Northwestphotos profile image

      Northwestphotos 6 years ago

      Thanks for the tutorial on the origami gift box. Don't know if I have the skill or patience to do this, but perhaps I may try it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Beautiful lens. Very interesting. I had a roommate from Japan. She used to wrap candy in the most beautiful way. I have always been interested in Japanese artists, japanese interior design, etc. Thank you for all of the great and helpful information here. Love it.

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 6 years ago

      Great lens, I love beautifully wrapped gifts. I usually do mine in a hurry, this challenges me to take more time this year. Blessings.

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 6 years ago

      Thanks for the lens, I'll show this to my wife so she can wrap the Christmas gifts in a different style and confuse our family this year! That furoshiki method is clever too, why carry a bag when you can just use your own bath towel to carry your goods?

    • profile image

      Buchamar 6 years ago

      Beautiful, creative and reusable;e! Some great ideas here! Good Job!

    • profile image

      marioaus 6 years ago

      whoa these are super cute.

    • Sher Ritchie profile image

      Sher Ritchie 6 years ago

      Thanks - I've tried wrapping some presents in Japanese style and the results are fantastic. My own recommendation: Japanese style wrapping is particularly suited to ROUND and CYLINDRICAL presents (think DVD spindles, bottles etc). No need to resort to a bottle-bag (or a scrunched up disaster), use Japanese paper folding techniques to meld the paper to the shape of the object.

    • jvermilion profile image

      jvermilion 6 years ago


    • profile image

      seosmm 6 years ago

      Very nice lens!

    • profile image

      sheilaseven 6 years ago

      The Japanese is kinda weird sometimes but this gift wrapping style is quite creative.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      I love all things Japanese, so it was wonderful to learn how to artfully wrap gifts. Thank you!

    • SBToolkit LM profile image

      Mark Whitman 6 years ago from London

      Cool lens. So beautiful!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I hadn't heard of this gift wrapping before thank you for all the great links

    • hessa johnson profile image

      hessa johnson 6 years ago

      Really appreciate the gift wrapping links, have bookmarked. Thank you!

    • profile image

      RocklawnArts 6 years ago

      Very cool, I may try out the cloth wrapping.

    • smallhands lm profile image

      smallhands lm 6 years ago

      I found a book on sale about these..haven't tried them yet though. Will do so soon!

    • profile image

      LasgalenArts 6 years ago

      I'm anxious to try the origata folding technique. Fascinating lens.

    • emmajowebster profile image

      emmajowebster 6 years ago

      fascinating! i'm gonna try this out!

    • BuddyBink profile image

      BuddyBink 6 years ago

      An excellent way to save the environment and be stylish at the same time. Well done lens.

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 6 years ago from California

      I love this lens with all it's cool ways to wrap gifts. I love the idea of wrapping with cloth. How green. Blessed. Bear hugs, Frankster

    • Beadsnresin profile image

      Beadsnresin 6 years ago

      Thanks for this!

    • profile image

      frydaa 6 years ago

      aww that is so cute!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      this is so pretty and elegant! i love it-thanks for sharing this!

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      great resources here, thanks for sharing

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      The Japanese really know how to wrap gifts.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      The Japanese really know how to wrap gifts.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I first learned about Japanese gift wrapping from my sister. Have always loved the look of the decorative gifts this way. Nice lens, well done and blessed.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      Wow! These are the most beautiful designs!!!!! Blessed!

    • daphnedangerlov1 profile image

      daphnedangerlov1 6 years ago

      These are simply lovely. I have a friend this going to go nuts over this!

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 6 years ago

      Japanese giftwrapping is an art in itself. The packages look so beatuiful and attractive. Thanks for sharing such an interesting lens.

    • Julia Morais profile image

      Julia Morais 6 years ago

      Love this lens. Anything that helps us recycle gets my support.

    • profile image

      aussieremovals 6 years ago

      Great lens.

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 6 years ago from Florida

      Neat lens! Blessed and liked.

    • LotusLandry profile image

      LotusLandry 6 years ago from Southern California

      I sometimes have used remnants from home sewing to wrap gifts...

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 6 years ago

      An amazing way to wrap a gift. Great lens.

    • profile image

      totalhealth 6 years ago

      very creative and beautiful way of wrapping things.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I always loved the looks of these I'll have to try this out for the upcoming holidays!

    • SiochainGraSonas profile image

      SiochainGraSonas 6 years ago

      What a cool idea. I am going to try this.

    • profile image

      MyDestination 6 years ago

      Interesting way to wrap things!

    • profile image

      Bahrns 6 years ago

      Wow Japanese way of gift wrapping looks great and it seems that they really put their all love in dedication on it. This is not just merely gift wrapping... this is art... AMAZING!!!

      Material Handling

    • profile image

      FreelancinFran 6 years ago

      Very interesting. Thank you for this informative lens :)

    • Elhamstero profile image

      Elhamstero 6 years ago

      I'd heard of this style of wrapping before, but never seen it done. It looks amazing

    • profile image

      Jennifer_Glennon 6 years ago

      This is very unique. I had never seen this done. Thank you for sharing.

    • profile image

      ErHawkns7100 6 years ago

      Very nice alternative.

    • bolsen19 profile image

      bolsen19 6 years ago

      Such a cute craft. I've bookmarked it to try later.

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 6 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      Wow, who knew? A lovely lens, and a neat topic for a lens.

    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 6 years ago

      Blessed by a Squid Angle

    • profile image

      neoglitch17 6 years ago

      Awesome! I will use these techniques the next time I have to wrap gifts... or my lunch xD

      Thanks for sharing! :D

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is really cool :)

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Excellent lens - very attractive way to wrap things!

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 6 years ago

      Great lens, really enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing

    • pimbels lm profile image

      pimbels lm 6 years ago

      I have never seen this before but it is very interesting. Great lens, thank you.

    • profile image

      sugunalinus 6 years ago

      This of course new to me. Very very interesting. Thanks for sharing