Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+
Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedIn

What is Traditional Japanese Patterns, “Wagara”? Introduction of Kinds of Traditional Patterns!


Hello! I’m a writer of KARAKURIJAPAN, Yonosuke!

I went to Asakusa, where is a famous sightseeing spot in Japan, just a few days ago.

Then I happened to drop in a hand towel store, and there are many hand towels with beautiful patterns displayed.





Those pattern are called “wagara”. As Japanese foods are called “washoku”, Japanese patterns are called “wagara”.

Not only towels, we often see something with patterns which express Japan somehow, such as kimonos or dyed cloths.


Wagara is patterns which exist only in Japan.

I’ll introduce the fascination and kinds of such traditional patterns, wagara.

What is the Fascination of the Traditional Japanese Patterns, “Wagara”?





“Wagara” is traditional Japanese patterns. One of the features of wagara is that most wagara have ordered pattern and use natural thing as a motif.

Wagara was originally designed in Heian period (approximately a thousand years ago), and spread among nobles. Wagara is still used for various things as in the past after hundreds years.

Wagara is very unique patterns to Japan filled with Japanese aesthetics and sense.


Then, I’ll introduce some kinds of wagara.






“Seigaiha” is designed using see waves as a motif. It is comparatively popular and used for various things.

It expresses a wish to keep a calm life like a calm wave.


“Asa no Ha”





“Asa no Ha” was named after hemp leaves.

Because a hemp grows quickly to be strong, this pattern has often been used for clothes for newborn babies.


“Ichimatsu pattern”




“Ichimatsu pattern” was named because a pattern like it was printed on the hakama worn by Ichimatsu Sanogawa, who was a famous kabuki actor in Edo period.







The pattern “kamawanu” represent “kamawanu(I don’t care)” in picture language. It contains “kama(sickle)”, “wa(ring)”, and “nu”.

It was made with a thought “I don’t care about my life” in Edo period. Even now, there are many men’s yukata with this “kamawanu” pattern.







The pattern “shippoutsunagi” represents gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, coral, agate, and giant clam which are treasures in Buddhism.

It is often used for a glass or women’s kimono. The ordered pattern is so beautiful.


Let’s Use Wagara in your Daily Life!





It’s difficult to realize that in daily lives, but wagara is used for various things around us.

Wagara has full of unique Japanese sense and aesthetics. And there are many kinds of wagara with a wish like “seigaiha”.

Just if you use something with wagara in your daily life, your life might be a little richer.

Former people left us such traditional Japanese patterns, “wagara”. Why don’t you use some of them in your daily life?

By the way, I bought a hand towel with seigaiha in Asakusa(picture above). I hope to keep a calm life.



I introduced traditional Japanese patterns, “wagara” this time, and there are traditional Japanese colors as well.

I wrote an article about them as well, so please check it out.

>>That IS Japanese Aesthetics! Introduction of Traditional Japanese Colors – Meaning and

Origin –

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+
Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedIn


Did you enjoy the blog?
Like me!

Get the latest.

Follow KARAKURI JAPAN Twitter on Twitter!