5 Uses Of The Furoshiki That Will Vibe Right With Eco Warriors | CoolJapan

Long before sustainability rocked mainstream consumer trends, Furoshiki (風呂敷) wrapping cloths were already environmentally friendly.

Furoshiki wrapping

Furoshiki is popular as an ecologically friendly alternative to wrapping paper. Photo from: きぬさら

Since the 17th century, Japanese people have been using them to wrap things or transport small items. This traditional practice originated from the Nara period (710-784) as a means to transport precious temple treasures. During the Edo period (1603-1868), locals used furoshiki to wrap their belongings when they visited bathhouses. In fact, furoshiki literally translates to “bath (furo) spread (shiki)”.

Today, furoshiki culture has evolved into something much more, and the cloths are used for so many other things such as gift-wrapping, fashion items, and even as works of art. If you are on the journey to becoming a green consumer, here are five fantastic eco-friendly uses of the furoshiki!

Wrap a gift

Typically a square piece of cloth that can come in a variety of sizes, furoshiki is the most practical way to wrap gifts. Unlike wrapping paper, no tape or scissors is required. The soft material of the fabric also allows you to wrap odd-shaped objects easily and beautifully. Not only is it functional but gift-giving is also made so much more personalised. What’s even better? Furoshiki wrapping is another gift in itself, which can be reused!

Furoshiki gift wrapping is an art form and there are many creative ways to do so. Check out this fascinating video for some basic techniques that even beginners can master.

Turn it into a bag

The versatility of the furoshiki truly shines through when it is being used as a carrier bag. This simple piece of cloth can be transformed into a shoulder tote bag, a bento box bag and a grocery carry-on for all those extra purchases. Since it is lightweight and doesn’t take up much space, it is the perfect travel accessory as well!

You can DIY and make a bag using simple knots and ties, or just buy specially made handle straps for a modern twist on traditional furoshiki bags. From elegant Japanese floral designs to contemporary prints, express your fashion individuality with a furoshiki bag.

Pack for a picnic

Sun is out and picnic vibes are calling, but the thought of packing all that stuff stresses you out. Here comes the furoshiki to the rescue!

Create your own cute picnic setup using just two pretty pieces of furoshiki fabric. A large one can be tied into a spacious picnic bag, which can carry a good amount of bento boxes and snacks. Use a smaller-sized cloth to make a bottle carrier for your drinks or wine if you are feeling fancy. Unwrap the bigger furoshiki cloth and it magically becomes a comfy picnic mat. The bonus? Gorgeous photos for your feed.

Furoshiki Picnic Bento

Bento boxes with furoshiki wrapping for a picnic. Photo from: Kunchan/CC BY-SA 3.0

Wear it as a fashion accessory

If it’s not slung on your arm, wrap it around your neck or head! Yep, the multi-purpose Furoshiki can be worn as a headband, a chic neck scarf or even a shawl to keep warm.

Recent heightened environmental awareness has led to a resurgence of the Furoshiki artform and attracted attention from fashion brands all over the world. This is one positive effect of the pandemic that we are mighty glad of. In turn, modern furoshiki designers are using contemporary fabrics and prints to appeal to the younger generations now too.

One good example is UK-based eco-conscious accessories label, Roop. Inspired by the practicality of furoshiki, its young founder created an exciting range of furoshiki bags, hair scrunchies and headscarves — now with a cult following.

Hang it on your walls

Looking for simple home decor ideas to jazz up your interiors? Beautiful pieces of furoshiki textile can double up as wall art when they are not in use.

Maybe you are an avid collector of Furoshiki cloth or perhaps you bought too many as souvenirs during your Japan trip. Instead of storing them idly in your wardrobe, display the furoshiki in your home using special custom-made wooden hanging poles.

Just like a curator in an art gallery, select designs to set the mood of the room and let your guests admire the lovingly handcrafted work of Japanese furoshiki artisans.

Now that you know all the great things about Furoshiki, it is time to start incorporating one (or many) into your lifestyle. Kyoto-based MUSUBI offers an amazing range of original furoshiki designs that are produced using traditional dying and weaving techniques. You can also buy authentic furoshiki made by Japanese craftsmen from online stores such as Uguisu Store and Link Collective.