5 japanese handcrafts souvenirs - do it yourself at home

Looking for the perfect souvenir from Japan? How about for some do it yourself handcraft, you can enjoy making it when you are back to your home country?

If you are good in working with wood, fabrics or paper the following souvenirs might be perfect for you or your friends at home. 

1. Origami
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Origami is the art of paper folding. A square sheet of paper is used to create by folding two- or three-dimensional objects like animals, boxes, flowers or other stuff. Modern origami models are sometimes very complex and it often takes several hours to fold them. 

Origami is very popular in Japan and around the whole world. Every generation from kids to old people are still love origami in Japan and most of them still can fold the famous crane.

Origami paper can be found in every stationary store and also at the 100 Yen shops. There are many different designs like very simple one color paper, character designs like totoro to typical detailed traditional designs. Origami figures and flowers are perfect for decoration of your house or greeting cards. 

2. Small Modellhouse ~ japanese style ~
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If you are good in working with wood, you can find small miniature traditional Japanese houses at some handcraft stores in Japan (Tokyo Hands, Kiddy Land..). Those small houses can be easily made by putting together all parts using glue. The sets usually include all parts you will need also the painting which makes the old style looking.
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Those small Japanese model houses come in many different size and shapes. You can find a ramen stand for summer festivals or a whole tea ceremony house. Anyways it will be a perfect decoration for your home. 

3.  Chirimen Crepe Fabric
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Chirimen Crepe fabric is one of the traditional Japanese fabrics (originally from the edo period) used for kimonos and hair accessories. 

Chirimen crepe has fine wrinkles, an unique texture and is mostly made from expensive silk. There are many different weaving variations, which makes this fabric very special.
However Chirimen crepe is not only made from silk. You can also find polyester or cotton one, which are less expensive than silk to produce.
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Nowadays Chirimen fabrics are used for casual wear, ornaments, bags and so on. You can find Chirimen fabric products in many traditional Japanese handcraft and souvenirs stores. Many sewing and handcraft stores have small Chirimen fabric bags, which you can use for making your own design keychain or hair accessory.

4. traditional fabrics
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Traditional Japanese fabrics are mostly very simple in its design and color. Very popular is the indigo fabric with white light stiches. They can be used mostly for everything to give your home a Japanese touch. How about some nice traditional style pillows for sitting on the floor or some Japanese patchwork style carpets for your wall? It all depends on your creativity.
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There are also very nice typically seasonal fabrics like in a cherry blossom or autumn foliage design. For Japan lovers who prefer it more colorful and sweet, there are also fabrics with geishas, sushi rolls or the cute Japanese Shiba dog. Those fabrics are perfect for bags or blankets.

The best places for buying Japanese fabrics are at the fabric town in Nippori or at fabric stores like Okadaya, Yuzawaya or Carft Heart Tokai.

5. Chiyogami

The origin of the Chiyogami goes back to the Edo, when paper makers began using wood stamps to print color samples on paper, which they used for kimono fabrics. The beautiful designs are printed on kozopaper, which is made from the bark of the mulberry tree, formerly in a scoop, nowadays mainly mechanically. These magnificent papers are mostly used for making paper dolls, boxes or tea caddies.
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Often Chiyogami is also called yuzen paper. Yuzen originally meant the very detailed and artfully fabric designs in the textile industry of Kyoto, which always contained some gold parts.
After the kimono production in Kyoto reached its peak (after 1600) many patterns were also transferred to mulberry paper. Nowadays these papers are called Chiyogami.   

You can find those papers in many handcraft or stationary stores like Tokyu Hands. The paper is a little bit pricy but absolutely worth it.

Kerstin Yamane