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Furoshiki – A ‘Green’ Carry All from Japan

Recently I shared 10 Tips for a Greener Trip to Tokyo and told you that the use of eco-bags by residents of the city was increasing. The furoshiki is the original eco-bag and is a simple square piece of cloth that the Japanese have been using to wrap and carry items for centuries. It is a beautiful, not to mention ‘green’, item that you can take home with you and that will serve as a lovely reminder of your time in Japan.

The Ministry of the Environment in Japan promotes the use of furoshiki and dates it’s first use to the Muromachi Period (1392-1573), when people spread it out in place of a bath mat or wrapped one’s clothes with it. Today furoshiki can be found in many stores throughout Japan and they come in a vast array of beautiful colors and patterns. VideoJug shares a great video that demonstrates how items of all shapes and sizes can be wrapped and carried stylishly in a furoshiki.

How To Carry Groceries With A Square Of Cloth

The furoshiki is a symbol of traditional Japanese culture that highlights the principle of mottainai which calls for making full use of an item and not being wasteful. Furoshiki are gaining popularity as fashion accessories in Japan as well. I recently purchased a handbag for myself, and a couple as gifts, that is made by tying a furoshiki through plastic rings that are used as handles. I just love my furoshiki handbag (picture above) and get a ton of compliments whenever I use it. Look for these handbags in department stores and souvenir shops throughout Tokyo.To learn how to wrap an amazing array of items, visit the “How to use Furoshiki” page presented by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment and be sure to take a furoshiki with you the next time you go shopping, the planet will thank you.

Image Credit: Personal Collection