Giving and Receiving Gifts


Giving and receiving gifts are customs seen though out the world. But the Japanese gift -giving convention is quite rare, since the person who sends the gift, their situations, and the gift itself are given under careful consideration. As we all know, this is a very rare case.

First, these conventions or customs are often omitted nowadays but it is a rule to wrap a gift with a white paper in Japan.


The wrapping symbolizes a border line or a disparity between the sender's sins, plague from the mundane world and the gift. In the etiquette, it is a rule to wrap the gift depending on the type of goods you are sending. Therefore there are several hundred ways to wrap a present. Since it is wrapped by "folding" (ori) for each different "shape" (katachi), these ways are called "orikata" in Japanese, meaning folded shapes.


Next, is the Japanese ceremonial (red, white, gold, silver, black) cords tied to presents and other different sorts of packages, and this is called the "musubi" meaning "ties". It is said that musubi tied on gifts is to express one's intention to "justify him/herself and to respect or serve the superior(receiver).

At times we tie the cords to orikata. Orikata and musubi design the soul of giving and create the form of gift-giving in Japan.

Why not make good use of these original Japanese orikata and musubi which convey one's sincerity and warmth for condolences and congratulation or seasonal gift-giving through out the year?


Manyou Package
  • This package is used to wrap a boxed gift. Vertically folded pleats comes out accenting the gift.
  • Tatou Package

  • Because it is the easiest way to wrap a gift, one must fold it into a decent shape. It could be used for both condolences and congratulations. With Mamusubi (one kind of ties) combined, it is suitable for wrapping bill notes at any occasions.
  • Touza(temporal) Kinshi(money) Package

  • It is used to give a little "thank you" gift(usually bill notes) at any circumstances, condolences or congratulations.
  • Package of Congratulations

  • Kinshi package is used for wrapping only bill notes for congratulations. A noshi is tucked in the center of the package. This package is the only exception that the sender writes the Chinese characters "thank you" or "congratulation" on the right side and one's name on the lower left. Because normally, names and addresses are written in the center. This is to express one's modesty to their superiors.
  • Crane's Toshidama Package

  • It is a custom in Japan to give youngsters money to youngsters on New Year's Day. This package is used to wrap those bill notes and it enlightens their happiness.
  • Crane's Gift Package

  • Originally, it was a package to show supplication of talisman. But now, because fold out noshi and crane makes it a gay package for wrapping bill notes at happy events. The ceremonial cords give dignified impression which expresses the sender's consideration from its luxurious outlook.
  • Package of Farewell Present

  • This is a package to wrap bill notes as a farewell present. Two wishes of "good journey" and "safe return" appear as two noshi. Thoughtful consideration is expressed in a visible form.
  • Package for Wrapping Flowers and Plants

  • Sending seasonal flowers with poems are one of Japan's original customs. Vivid seasonal flowers wrapped in snow-white Japanese paper gives a very different but attractive features compared to flowers wrapped in cellophane papers with ribbons.
  • Package for Wrapping Sprays and Flowers

  • This package could be used to wrap both sprays (ex. Cherry blossoms, camellia) or just plain flowers with weak stems. It is a courtesy to hand the flowers with weak stems facing down. In opposite, it is polite to hand the flowers with strong stems facing upward.
  • Package for Wrapping Chop Sticks

  • Japanese tend to love chopsticks made out of plain wood because they make much of cleanliness and purity. So chop sticks served for guests are often made out of them. There are several ways to fold but this type of folding is used when wrapping plain wood chopsticks when he/she wants to start out a new day with a whole new feeling, such as the New Year's Day.
  • Package for Wrapping Brush and Ink

  • This package is used when gifting brush or ink for Japanese calligraphy. It could also be used for sending ball-point pen or a fountain pen to celebrate entrance into a school.
  • Package for Wrapping Shikishi

  • From the ancient times, there is an elegant custom of exchanging Japanese poems. These poems were written on dyed papers in all sorts of colors (shikishi), this package is used to wrap these colored papers.
  • Package for Wrapping Ubugi

  • In Japan, it is a custom to clothe in "ubugi", a special clothing for babies, for the first time three or seven days after the baby is born. The baby's family visits the shrine when the baby is about thirty days old to report their baby's birth to the gods. This package expresses the energy of the newly born soul in a very simple form. Ubugi is often sent by mother's parents and this package is used when sending this clothing.
  • Package of Tango no Sekku (Five Major Festivals)

  • The Tango no Sekku has been celebrated as one of the five major festivals in Japan. Today, bill notes are wrapped in this package as a gift. Sometimes it is made a gift with bamboo leaves wrapped rice pudding attached with the bill notes.
  • Package for Keirou Celebration

  • Sixtieth's birthday is celebrated enthusiastically as one of the long life celebrations and is called "Kanreki". Therefore, it is folded into a shape of chan-chanko (padded sleeveless coat) often gifted as a present of longevity.
  • Musubi: Ceremonial Red and White Paper Cords

  • It is used both at condolences and congratulations. When using white-red ceremonial cord, white goes on the left, red on the right. When using gold-silver cords, silver goes on the left and gold goes on right. When using black and white cords, white goes on the left black on the right. This tie could be used at any formal ceremonies.
  • One Looped Tie

  • It could be used at both condolences and congratulation but often not seen today. Katanawa is used under two circumstances. One of them is when it is necessary to look what is inside. Therefore the knot is easy to untie. The other is when tying a cylinder shaped gifts. Since there is one of the ends sticking out on the left, it is easier to untie the cord.
  • Bowknot

  • In general, it is known as the "bowknot" in English or "choumusubi" in Japanese. It is used for presents and gifts at joyful events. It is important to make the two rings even.
  • Ear Shell Tie

  • In the ancient times, the Japanese used this tie only on a celebration day especially at weddings. Today, it is also used often at misfortunate events such as funerals. At ceremonies they make a formal knot (aioi- musubi). There are three kinds of formal knots and they are "shin", "gyou", and "sou". In the order of formality.
  • Aioi-Musubi

    Ear Shell Kaeshi

  • It is used on presents and gifts for joyful events .First make a knot of ear shell tie and then bring the two ends through it pulling down wards.
  • Oino nami

  • It is a spiral ornament of mamusubi or ear shell tie. It is often used on mamusubi at weddings.
  • Gyaku awabi

  • It is also called "butsuji musubi". It is used only at misfortunate events. Black, white, or both black and white cords are used. Never ever use this at joyful occasions.
  • Other Practical Ties
    shou (pine tree)chiku (bamboo)bai (plum tree)