Instructions for Japanese Gift Wrapping

Updated April 17, 2017

Japanese gift-wrapping uses a lot of paper--or none--depending on the wrapping style. The Japanese custom of wrapping a gift with a decorated scarf or furoshiki, is a casual yet practical way of wrapping an item that does not use any paper or ribbon. For formal occasions, the Japanese wrap money and gifts in a special paper called "noshi." Noshi gift-wrapping uses layers of coloured paper that is folded, not cut, into asymmetrical shapes to display the paper's colours and design. A red, silver or gold paper cord, called "mizuhiki" completes the gift's formal presentation.

Center the box or container in the middle of the scarf or furoshiki so that the cloth's four pointed ends are at the middle of the box's sides, and not at the corners. (Steps 1-4, reference 1, resource 2, minute 1:23)

Grab two pointed ends on opposite sides of the box, hold the ends up straight and tie the ends together tightly over the middle of the box using square knot.

Take the remaining two scarf ends and pull the fabric flaps up over the edges of the box and knot over the previously tied ends using a square knot, so the box is wrapped neatly with the scarf fabric.

Tuck in any excess fabric at the corners to make a neatly wrapped package, then grab the box with one hand at the knotted ends in the centre to carry the wrapped box to its destination.

Layer three rectangular sheets of Japanese paper--right sides facing up--so a quarter-inch width of each paper shows in layers on one of the short sides. Glue the three papers together in place with a small amount of clear glue.

Place the wrapping paper horizontally in front of you with the right-side facing down and the layered edges of wrapping paper is to the right. Center the gift box right-side up on the paper so there is an equal amount of paper above and below, as well as a larger, but equal amount of paper to the sides.

Pick up the wrapping paper on the left side of the box and fold it over the top of the box and tape in place. Fold the right side of the paper up and over so it covers the taped edge from the left side, and shows the right side's layered edges on top of the package.

Tape or glue the right side of the wrapping paper down to the top in an inconspicuous spot, then turn the box so one unwrapped end is facing you.

Fold in both sides of the paper towards the middle of the box end to make two paper flaps--one at the top and one at the bottom. Fold down the top flap of wrapping paper, then fold up the bottom flap to make a neat wrap and tape in place.

Turn the box around so the opposite, unwrapped end is facing you. Repeat folding in the paper sides and flaps, then taping in the same manner as on the previous end.

Pre-measure and cut several mizuhiki strands for the gift box; centre the wrapped box over the pre-cut mizuhiki strands.

Grab all three mizuhiki ties together and bring to the top of the wrapped box. Tie the mizuhiki into a bow at the centre of the box like you would tie a ribbon. Trim the ends of the mizuhiki, if necessary, with a pair of scissors.


Always use a square scarf or furoshiki when wrapping an item, however, the item(s) you wrap do not need to be square. (Resource 2) Buy Japanese wrapping paper, furoshiki and mizuhiki from a speciality paper shop or an online Japanese products supplier or market.


Test folding the wrapping paper sides over the gift box without taping to avoid having to remove the tape and reposition the box, which can crease or rip the paper.

Things You'll Need

  • Square scarf or Japanese furoshiki
  • Gift box or container
  • 3 sheets Japanese wrapping paper
  • Clear glue
  • Tape
  • Mizuhiki or stretch cord
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Roxanne McHenry has written online marketing articles and courses for Web publications including Affiliate Classroom and Web Pro News since 2002. McHenry has a B.A. in Japanese language and literature, and lived and worked in Japan as a teacher and technical translator.