Exploring the Art of Hishigami Wrapping: Adding Beauty and Functionality to Japanese Swords

In the world of Japanese swords, craftsmanship and attention to detail are highly revered. One aspect that showcases both artistry and functionality is Hishigami wrapping. This traditional method involves wrapping the handle (tsuka) of a Japanese sword with small pieces of paper or fabric called Hishigami. In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating world of Hishigami wrapping, exploring its history, techniques, cultural significance, and the unique beauty it adds to Japanese swords. 

The following video shows the entire process of our master doing Hishigami Wrapping.

1. The Origins and Evolution of Hishigami Wrapping:

  • Tracing back to ancient Japan: Hishigami wrapping's roots can be found in the Heian period (794-1185), where it initially served as a functional method to secure the tsuka-ito (handle wrapping) in place.
  • From utility to artistry: Over time, Hishigami wrapping evolved to incorporate intricate patterns and designs, transforming it into a form of artistic expression.

2. Materials and Tools Used in Hishigami Wrapping:

  • Hishigami: Exploring the significance of the diamond-shaped paper or fabric pieces used in the wrapping process.
  • Tsuka-ito: The cord or wrapping material used as the foundation for Hishigami wrapping.
  • Additional tools: Introduction to the various tools, such as a knife, needle, and awl, used in the precise execution of Hishigami wrapping.

3. Techniques and Mathod:

  • The hishigami wrapping method involves carefully layering and securing the hishigami pieces around the handle, creating a tight and secure grip. The wrapping pattern varies depending on the style and school of swordsmanship, as well as personal preferences of the sword owner.
  • To apply the hishigami wrapping, the handle is first prepared with a layer of cord called the tsuka-ito. The hishigami pieces are then inserted between the tsuka-ito and the handle, creating tension and providing additional padding for a comfortable grip. The wrapping is done in a specific pattern that ensures a secure hold on the sword and prevents the handle from becoming loose with use.
  • Hishigami wrapping not only enhances the functionality of the handle, but it also adds an aesthetic element to the sword. The wrapping pattern, color of the hishigami, and the overall design can vary, allowing for customization and personalization of the sword's appearance.

While hishigami wrapping was traditionally performed by skilled craftsmen or swordsmiths, there are tutorials and instructional resources available today that teach enthusiasts and sword owners how to perform this wrapping technique themselves. It requires patience, precision, and attention to detail to achieve a neatly wrapped and visually pleasing result.


Hishigami wrapping stands as a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship and rich cultural heritage of Japanese swords. By combining functionality with artistic expression, it adds both beauty and practicality to the tsuka of these legendary weapons. Whether preserving ancient traditions or exploring contemporary adaptations, Hishigami wrapping continues to captivate enthusiasts and sword aficionados around the world, ensuring that this revered art form endures for generations to come.