Originally produced as woodblock prints by papermakers during the farming season of the Edo period (1603-1867), Chiyogami was developed for decorative use in homes and interiors. Based on the bright kimono textiles of wealthy, fashionable ladies in larger cities that papermakers from the countryside admired. Textiles from Kyoto were especially inspiring as the area known as Yuzen had become famous for its sophistication in cloth dyeing techniques. Today’s Chiyogami is a widely popular decorative paper that is hand-printed by silkscreen in several small studios around Kyoto, Japan.

Chiyogami was meant to be cut into pieces and made into flat paper dolls or pasted on tea tins or small paper boxes. Today the scale of the patterns is reminiscent of these early uses. Many of the traditional symbols depicted in the patterns refer back to seasonal motifs and auspicious occasions, when fancy kimonos would be worn: bamboo for flexibility; cranes for longevity; cherry blossoms for the fleeting nature of life; pine boughs for perseverance — these are just a few of the hundreds of traditional symbols printed in endless colours and captivating combinations.


Over time, Chiyogami became very popular for use as book covers, covering small chests, and other crafts in Japan. Today the paper is avidly collected around the world and used by artists and craftspeople for a broad range of creative work. The striking, richly-coloured pigments, careful registration of screens and vast range of patterns make these papers ideal for collage, jewellery-making, picture mats, books and box making.


Using high-quality, carefully-mixed pigment inks, the printers apply each colour one by one, using precise registration and alignment. A single pattern may have as many as 10 colours. Each colour is applied separately and dried before the next is pressed through the screen using a squeegee.

Japanese-made chiyogami is incomparable in quality in the world of printed papers. Intense, richly-pigmented inks, brilliant designs, extraordinary colour sensitivity, and printed with unparalleled precision to produce exceptional designs that are consistently one of the most popular and versatile types of decorative papers.

The range of Chiyogami patterns is endless, and Japanese designers today are tireless in their development of new, innovative patterns and designs. These patterns are constantly stocked at The Japanese Paper Place.

NOTE: The reproduction of chiyogami patterns is subject to copyright. Copyright is held by the originating individual paper studio. Contact The JPP by email for further information: washi@japanesepaperplace.com