Tomobako Japanese Wooden Box

A tomobako, if you didn’t already know, is the wooden box that Japanese ceramics are sometimes presented in, usually the more expensive pieces. For example, some of our more expensive Matcha Bowls are presented in a tomobako.

A tomobako is actually quite precious. A potter puts quite a bit of time & effort into making the box, choosing the style of ribbon, not to mention the calligraphy which is actually an art form in Japan. So don’t discard the tomobako what ever you do!

Anyhow, the purpose of this blog has been brought about by some customers asking how to tie the tomobako ribbon back up once undone because, believe it or not, it can be a real brain teaser!

Yuuki-Cha to the rescue!

How to tie your tomobako…..

If you left the ribbon fed through the box that would be helpful, but if you didn’t, you’ll need to do that first making sure that the ribbon lengths are equal in length once you have fed it through. You might also notice the original folds still in the ribbon from when the potter tied it up. If you can find those, it’s likely they will be helpful at lining things up.


Tomobako Step One

Pull the ribbon into the middle of the box at a 45 degree angle.


Tomobako Step Two

Feed the bottom ribbon over and then under the middle ribbon.


Tomobako Step Three

Feed the side ribbon over and then under the middle ribbon. Pull both ends of the ribbon tightly.


Tomobako Step Four

Now fold the side ribbon over about half way.


Tomobako Step Five

Place the bottom ribbon over the side ribbon.....


Tomobako Step Six

.....and then feed it through the side ribbon.

STEP 7 :

Tomobako Step Seven

Pull the ribbon tightly, and make sure that the bow is neat and tidy. Job done!

3 Responses to Tomobako Japanese Wooden Box

  1. tsanko says:

    Wonderful ..thanks a lot for posting a good informitive blog

  2. kristilyn says:


    i am assuming the ribbon you are using in the demonstration photos is japanese ribbon. i am trying to find something similar. will you share with me your source?

    many thanks.

    • yuuki-cha says:

      Yes, it certainly is. These ribbons are supplied with the box that the potter presents his work in. We do not source just the ribbons, sorry about that. All the best…..

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