• Shiori W

Japan will start charging for plastic bags from July of 2020.

Are you ready? Japan will start charging for plastic bags from July of 2020.

Did you already own an eco-bag or reusable shopping bag?

Here are three popular styles of eco-bags and how to use a furoshiki (a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth).

Up until now plastic bags were given out freely at stores when a person made a purchase. This year the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced a new law that will put a minimum 1-yen fee for plastic bags starting from July 1st 2020. The fee for a plastic bag will vary from business to business but almost all businesses will be required to charge something. Bags made from recycled materials, organic materials, or are biodegradable will be exempt from this fee. The new law was passed to help combat the increasing amount of plastic waste in the ocean, global warming, and to conserve resources.

Please make sure to bring a reusable shopping bag from home when going out shopping in Japan. Doing so will help save you money and help the planet.

Today, I will introduce three popular styles of reusable shopping bags in Japan.

I will also talk about a traditional Japanese wrapping cloth called a furoshiki (風呂敷) which can also be used in place of a regular bag when shopping.

Three popular styles of eco-bags in Japan

1. Basket style bags

These eco-bags are usually made of nylon or cloth and are made in the shape of a basket. This kind of bag usually has insulation or a lining inside to help keep foods warm or cold. They are easy to use and can be used conveniently as a basket when shopping. Please check the details from here (JP only)

2. Foldable bags

Nylon tote bags are popular among women and can be easily stored in purses or bags used for work. They are compact and easy to carry. Please check the details here (*JP only)

Companies sometimes collaborate with artists to produce bags with unique and interesting designs.




Well known cafe chains such as Mister Donuts and Tully’s Coffee have released branded eco-bags. The popular clothing store, Uniqlo, has also released a new line of eco-bags featuring art from artists from around the world such as Andy Warhol.

3. Backpack style eco-bags

For people who use a bike to go places I recommend using a backpack style eco-bag. I’m sure most people already have a backpack but I think it’s good to have a second backpack to use as an eco-bag for shopping.

Would you like to try carrying items with the traditional Japanese wrapping cloth known as a furoshiki?

It’s simple and stylish!

Let’s learn how to use a furoshiki.

Furoshiki have been used for over a thousand years; they are often adorned with beautiful designs and patterns. People use them to carry small items such as food stuffs or bottles. To carry something in the cloth and simply tie up the corners of the cloth. They can be folded to be the same size as a handkerchief so they do not take up much room. Nowadays regular bags are used more often than furoshiki in Japan but they have been getting more stylish and have become a popular souvenir for tourists. Some stores’ websites have instructions on how to use a furoshiki and anyone in Fukuoka can learn how to use one first hand in a workshop.

Video made by a furoshiki shop.

Furoshiki online shop

Furoshiki workshop in Fukuoka.

If you are intrigued by furoshiki, why not try using one in your day to day life?

How can we say “we don’t need a plastic bag” in Japanese?

If you don’t need a bag you can tell the cashier “fukuro wa irimasen” (袋はいりません), it literally means “I don't need a bag”.

How was today’s tip?

I hope you learned something new!