Japan's answer to gift wrap - Furoshiki!

You might be traveling in Japan with the intent of picking up a few goodies for friends and family back home. You also might be wondering just how you're going to wrap certain things, particularly if they're unusual shapes and sizes. Well, Japan has an answer for that  - and a big bonus is that it is eco friendly! It's called furoshiki, and it's as beautiful as it is clever.
PC: Flickr User weekendknitter

Since Japan is known as a place that has many beautiful textiles, using the furoshiki techniques to package gifts is a great way to not only make the souvenir you're giving look even more special - but also to give the gift recipient another gift (the textile that their present is wrapped in!)

PC: Flickr User ken_yasuhara

The name furoshiki literally means "bath spread" - and is said to date back to the Edo Period, where people would bundle up their clothes in fabric whilst at the onsen, to make sure they didn't mix up their stuff with anyone else's. Useful and clever, see?!

You can wrap just about anything and everything using the furoshiki techniques. The Japanese Ministry of Environment even have instructions on their website for how to do some of the furoshiki folds - pretty neat!

PC: https://www.env.go.jp

One of my favorites is that you can wrap a bottle of wine or sake this way. Maybe someone asked you to pick up a bottle of something at the Duty Free for them on your trip? Pick up a nice printed cloth that is big enough to wrap the bottle in, and follow the instructions - and hey presto - you can have it wrapped and ready to gift-give as soon as you're back home!

Make a bottle of wine look even more classy wrapped like this! PC: Flickr User cappuccinoishi

If you feel a little intimidated trying this on your own or just prefer to learn by doing, you can find places that run furoshiki classes across Japan. It could be a fun hands on activity for you to participate in during your trip!

Happy Travels, and enjoy Japan!

this is japan