Traditional Japanese designs, or Wagara, are a type of pattern peculiar to Japan.
The most well known of these take a single design and create patterns by placing the design systematically on fabric.
They're mostly used for kimono, packaging, and other goods and sundries, but not only are they ultra cute -- they also have proper significance!
"Wave Crest - Seigaiha"
This design is made of rows of ocean waves forming a fan-shaped pattern.
It symbolizes the desire for continued peaceful living, like the tranquil waves.
"Hemp Leaf - Asanoha"
This pattern was named after its resemblance to a hemp leaf.
It is connected to the ideas of growth and children's health, since hemp is durable and grows quickly.
"Tortoise Shell - Kikkou"
This pattern is made of a bunch of tortoise shell shapes.
Tortoises have long been a symbol of longevity, so this pattern is also a prayer for long life.
"Fletching - Yagasuri"
This pattern is based on arrow fletching.
It is used as a lucky charm for weddings and other ceremonies, as it is based on the Japanese saying that, once an arrow is fired, it never returns.
"Folding Fan - Uchiwa"
A pattern made to look like an opened folding fan.
Fans stand for development and prosperity.
Your friends might be pleasantly surprised to get wrapping cloth or a towel as a souvenir using a pattern that stands for something they like.
If this interests you, research what kind of traditional Japanese Wagara patterns are out there before you next come to Japan!