Furoshiki – The Japanese Art of Wrapping
What is FUROSHIKI?
Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese, square- shaped wrapping cloth used for transportation of books, gifts, clothes and other everyday items. Traditionally, it was made of natural materials but these days it is available in a wide range of fabrics such as silk, cotton, nylon.
Image: Japan Store
Furoshiki (Japanese for ‘bath spread’) dates back to 710 AD and had been used for different purposes. It became most commonly used in the Edo period (1603-1867) when the public bath houses gained popularity. The general public used to wrap their clothes to carry them to the bathhouse and stand on it while changing, hence the name FURO = bath and SHIKI (SHIKU) = spread.
Later, the custom spread and merchants of all sorts would start using furoshiki to transport their goods. The benefit was that furoshiki, being a simple cloth, would accommodate objects of any shape, making it a very versatile packaging material.
Although its use has change over time, furoshiki is far from forgotten. On the contrary, with our focus shifting to eco-friendly, reusable products, it is being recognised as an elegant replacement for plastic bags. With its colourful designs and patterns, furoshiki is great for wrapping gifts, decorating our walls and tables or even extra pram storage!
Furoshiki are easily accessible on Amazon and some are even Prime eligible but in the spirit of eco-friendly, why not recycle old clothes, scarves of table clothes? All that is needed is a square piece of fabric and furoshiki is ready! If you want to make your own, make sure the material looks good on both sides and is big enough. The most common sizes are 45cm (17.7 inch), 68-72 cm (26.7 – 28.3 inch)
I have been testing the versatility of my furoshiki and put it through a few days out with my daughter and her friends. I must admit that it makes a great carry bag and a pop-up picnic blanket for 3 three-year-olds. It was extremely handy to be able to simply grab all the snacks and wrap it all in my furoshiki when the weather turned and we had to rush to avoid getting soaked. Due to its material, it takes up so little space that it can be carried even in a small purse and used as a shopping bag when needed. Also, my daughter loved packing it full of grass and flowers and pretending she’s got a purse like me.
Furoshiki is compact and roomy, eco-friendly and super easy to fold!
Tell me, what other uses of furoshiki have you tried?
I’m a working mum, a chocolate lover and a stubborn wife who is finding ways to live a more fulfilling life.