Beat the summer heat the traditional way with these Japanese folding fans!
Each one in this collection is individually handmade using tried-and-tested crafting techniques.
Both practical and surprisingly compact
Japanese hand fans are one of the most eco-friendly ways to cool yourself down. Their elegant design and stunning array of patterns also make them excellent gifts.
On this page, you can view our handpicked collection of Japanese folding hand fans. All are authentic and made here in Japan.
Types of Japanese folding fans
Learn more about Japanese folding fans
In general, there are two types of Japanese hand fans: the folding fan and the flat fan.
As its name implies, the folding fan is a handheld fan that can be folded up to be more compact. The flat fan, on the other hand, cannot be folded, so it is not as compact.
Folding hand fan
While both the folding fan and the flat fan are used in Japan, the flat fan is usually used for more casual occasions such as festivals or when you’re at home. Folding fans, on the other hand, are seen as more elegant, and therefore can often be found in more formal occasions where you’d need to dress up a bit more. It is not uncommon for people wearing kimono to also bring along a folding fan.
At BECOS, we stock the folding fan type of hand fan as we believe it truly displays the masterful craftsmanship of Japanese artisans. There are many kinds of folding fans in Japan, but two of the most popular are the Kyo-Sensu and the Edo-Sensu.
Folding fans were thought to have originated from Kyoto approximately 1,200 years ago. Though initially only used by males, as time passed, females began using them, decorating the folding fans with all kinds of prints and paintings that eventually led to the folding fans we see today.
Each Kyo-Sensu folding fan takes 87 steps to make, with each step done by different people who are experts at their craft. They are made only with materials from Kyoto and Shiga Prefectures and crafted only in Kyoto by someone who is a part of the Kyoto Folding Fan and Round Fan Association of Commerce and Industry.
For more information on Kyo-Sensu folding fans, please see: https://becos.tsunagujapan.com/en/kyo-sensu-fans/
“Edo” is the former name for Tokyo. Edo-Sensu folding fans are believed to have started when a fan craftsman from Kyoto moved to Tokyo and began selling fans there. Though originally Kyoto-esque in design, the folding fans have since adapted to fit the trendy culture of Edo and meet the needs of the masses.
Unlike Kyo-Sensu folding fans, each Edo-Sensu folding fan is made by a single craftsperson. For this reason, mass production is difficult, and many Edo-Sensu folding fans are one-off creations. They also tend to be heftier with thicker skeletons, resulting in a satisfying thwack when you flip them open.
For more information on Edo-Sensu folding fans, please see: https://becos.tsunagujapan.com/en/edo-sensu-fans/
Size: If you have large hands, pick a fan that’s over 21 cm in length. Otherwise, aim for 20 cm or less.
Weight: If you want your Japanese hand fan to let out a beautiful sound when you flip it open or closed, choose a heavier fan.
Number of bones: Most hand fans have anywhere between 15-25 fan bones. If you want something with heft, look for a Japanese hand fan with 30 or more fan bones.