Know what these pink accessories are?
Stylish and super cosy 'belly warmers' from Hobonichi.

Haramaki! A granny item made fashionable

Winter is here! At this time of the year your heart and body will certainly cry out for some extra comfort. Already wearing all that’s to be found in your closet but still longing for more cosy warmth? Here is our solution: START WEARING BELLY WARMERS! Belly warmers? What is that supposed to be? Read on and find out how people dress this winter in Tokyo and get to know the true story of how Itoi Shigesato turned a piece of granny underwear into a fashionable must-have accessory!

Written by Uleshka

Once you realized what we are actually talking about, you probably have quite a bad, oldfashioned image in your head! Yes, Japanese style ‘haramaki’ – freely translated as ‘belly warmers’ – are these highly useful items which are either worn in case of illness (stomach ache, kidney pain, problems with your abdominal joints, diarrhea…) or in case of total indifference towards dress ethics (on weekends in Musashi-Kosugi tired Salaryman like to go cigarette shopping entirely wrapped in beige underwear with a nice white ‘belly warmer’ on top).

Altogether this original item does NOT have a very sexy image!

This is probably what you had in mind when you heard the words “health” and “body warming”, right?

…and this is what it SHOULD be like! Spice up your outfit with ‘belly warmers’ in all colors and still enjoy this warm and fuzzy feeling.

But that was yesterday!!! And today all I can say is: I love them! I love them! I love them!
EVERYBODY I know who has seen me wearing one, wants one, too!

And why? Because Hobonichi (the we-write-and-produce-everything-that-we-think-is-good-company – which earns my highest respect here in Japan, by the way) has found a way to transform this old-fashioned health thingy into a super desirable fashion item!

‘haramaki’ from this season’s collection. Hobonichi ‘haramaki’ are only sold twice a year (summer or winter collection) so every season’s designs are limited pieces. Get them while you can!!!
‘haramaki’ fun in Shimokitazawa with a blanket – both from Hobonichi

Yes, there are

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other ‘haramaki’ out there already: Flimsy cutesy ones, which never stay in the right spot. But the ones from Hobonichi are soft, warm, stretchy and juicy! I certainly can’t leave the house without them! Read on why and how Itoi-san got into them and produced this clothing line.

Here is Itoi-san’s story:
Despite the truly uncool reputation of the Haramaki, multi-creator Itoi Shigesato kept wearing one in secret everyday. At that time, it was certainly not for the look of it, but purely for comfort and health reasons. When wearing a ‘haramaki’, you boost your whole blood circulation by warming the entire waist area, which results in: belly warm – body warm!

What happened then? Still super afraid that anyone could notice that Itoi-san himself was wearing something as up-to-date as granny’s knickers, Itoi Shigesato reacted fast when he got an email from a knitting company in Niigata saying: “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do something together at some point?” A bright light bulb appeared above his head: “I KNOW WHAT I’LL DO! I’LL MAKE COOL HARAMAKI!!!”

And he did!

See? Fig.01 – bad blood circulation and way too many cold spots throughout the body on the left, slightly improving with a summer blanket in fig.02; getting warmer but still with cold spots remaining especially on the belly on fig.03; using a winter blanket and finally looking all cosy with a truly warm belly boosting the entire blood circulation on the last picture wearing a ‘haramaki’ in fig.04

Itoi’s company runs the huge access website Hobonichi and they wrote emails to a lot of people asking if they would want a ‘belly warmer’ in case they were to produce any. But – in the middle of the survey Itoi actually decided: “No matter what! I’m gonna make them anyway!”

Today they have their 11th collection selling about 15 000 ‘haramaki’ each season.

‘haramaki’ rope coming out of the knitting machine iin their factory in Niigata
Yeah! More variation! These ‘haramaki’ and matching blanket were designed by Yukiko Harada.

But how could Hobonichi be so sure it would be a success to produce ‘belly warmers’? And what is so special about them anyway? Here are a couple of good reasons why you should give ‘haramaki’ a try:

  • Boost your bad blood circulation you certainly have from sitting in front of this screen all day ;-) Become fit by looking good!

  • Since it really warms your whole body, you can wear less in general and don’t have to bury yourself with layers of layers of winter clothes. Besides, a ‘haramaki’ is really small, so you can easily store it in your bag and use it in case you get a little cold later on. It really makes a big difference!

  • If you have a cold and weak stomach it does wonders (men think digestion, women think about those painful days each month, party-goers think poor kidneys, and in winter time: Think of flu!)

  • Many people wear it also when they sleep since it generally comforts you and calms your body down. (So wear one the night before your next big client presentation!)

  • As it was already mentioned in the comments of our maternity design article, ‘belly warmers’ are simply the best during pregnancy!

  • When I showed mine at my yoga-class everybody screamed: I want one!

  • Protect yourself from air-conditioning issues! Perfect on board of any airplane (which is maybe why the Hobonichi ‘haramaki’ line is called ‘Hobonichi Airline’) or during summer days when the air-conditioning attacks your body! The strong cold draft certainly makes your body struggle which causes a lot of difficulty for the blood circulation. Many people develop cold kidneys but your ‘haramaki’ helps you to store the heat in the right place.

  • But apart from all these great reasons for wearing ‘haramaki’ THEY SIMPLY LOOK DEAD COOL and act as the hot accessory to spice up your outfit this winter (if not throughout the year)!

There are two different materials used for ‘haramaki’. FUWATTO NOBIRU” (pink haramaki on the left) has a soft touch and is particularly nice to store the warmth between your skin and the ‘belly warmer’. (cotton: 96% polyurethane: 4%). The material on the right is called ‘NOBI NOBI TAORIN’ and allows the air to get through to maintain a dry warmth. (cotton: 97% polyurethane: 3%) Machine wash for both materials. They stretch back to their original size after washing.
PingMag talked to the ladies working at Hobonichi: Every single one of them is wearing ‘haramaki’ throughout the year (and Itoi-san himself, too, of course. He usually goes for the checkered ones!). Matsumoto-san on the far left even treasures a collection of over 40 different ones! There is certainly something to match her outfit every day!

Now you know why people wear them over here (and probably secretly in other parts of the world where there aren’t such nice ‘belly warmers’ yet!).

I feel a bit like a “Haramaki ambassador” to be honest! I’ve simply never experienced any piece of clothing that suited my way of dressing so well and made me feel all gooooood and comfy! Besides – the reactions I get simply speak for themselves: Everybody wants one! Probably because people have worn ‘belly warmers’ at one point in their lives and subconsciously remember how nice and warm that felt but never dared to wear one ‘in public’… or so… Now that they found one that is so well designed, they simply can’t resist!

So warm! PingMag-girls wearing “Today’s Haramaki”.

Every season ‘haramaki’ are designed partly by Hobonichi designers and partly by people they pick. This year’s inhouse designer Rumiko Nango designed a small range called “HOBONICHI WARMERS” for the winter collection.

Illustrator and graphic designer Yukiko Harada designed a cute set of ‘haramaki’ with matching blankets. The most unusual person Hobonichi picked for this year’s winter collection is probably a Marimba player and an essayist Mutsumi Tsuusaki from Kyoto. Her way of wearing vintage kimono (a special kind called MEISEN) got a lot of attention in the Japanese press recently, not only her excellent Kimono collection but in particular her life style in Kyoto.

Mutsumi Tsuusaki at home with her vintage kimono collection

Tsuusaki’s old ‘Meisen’ style kimono: This pattern was used for her ‘Marimba’ haramaki.

Marimba ‘haramaki’ for men and women

…and many more to choose from!

If you paid attention, you probably figured out that all ‘haramaki’ are seasonal, which means that they sell them twice a year – and you can’t get any of all the lovely old designs once the sale has finished.

The only huge bummer is that they only have a Japanese website! – and although they tried their best, they couldn’t find a way for PingMag readers to create an English online shopping system in time. If you really like one, please let them know in the comments and I promise that PingMag will help Hobonicihi to have an English shopping version up and ready for you for the next collection!!!

I am truly sorry for making your mouth watery but… I thought the world needed to know!

haramaki from “checkered line”

with matching blanket
…and an idea of how to wear it!

I am truly greatful that this fantastic product is out and available!!! (English readers – please be slightly patient and claim your rights in the comments! I-CAN-read-Japanese readers, try to click on the top banner of this site. The sale starts from the 18th!!!) Thank you, Hobonichi! I am your biggest fan!

VERY IMPORTANT INFO!: 2008 Winter series are now on sale! Click HERE to see the latest collection!

  • Ian Harris

    This is such a great piece of clothing – who wouldn’t want one? Export them, you have awakened a sleeping Tiger!!
    Pingmag you are so cool!

  • Momus

    Can haramaki protect my tummy from harmful laptop radiation too?

  • victor mota

    you should for sure do that, i would buy it!.. if it was a reasonable price. but yeah translate it or do something!!!

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  • roeleveld

    We want these in chicago! Plenty of stores here would like to distribute this.

  • wof

    yes, please translate so we can catch the sensation too ;)

  • Mitra

    oh I want one too! it gets really cold here in the UK, please set up an english site before it’s too late.

  • number18

    Ohhh my goodness, I would love to have something like this. As somebody who loves to ride their bike, it’s hard to stay warm but not sweaty under a bunch of layers. Core warmth is the key! Bike kids would love things like this!

  • Markle

    Speaking as a Chicago bike person – I would like one of these!

  • Charlotte

    i don’t want one….I NEED ONE!!! i can’t wait until the site is in english and i can get my belly in one.

  • aaron

    I want one, even if it’s blazing hot here in the philippines.

  • ron

    The winter in Vancouver has been dreadfully cold! Export them here and they will sell like Hotcakes!!


  • MrMeowMeow

    Oh man, those look awesome!
    I read the entire article hoping to find a link to buy some. Please find a way of (cheaply) selling some to us North Americans!

  • Francisco

    I would definitley were one here in Ecuador. believe it or not, were are at the center of the world, but in winter, it get’s freakin’ cold! Specially in the highlands. Make the designs more manly! And I hope your online shop can send to us here in Ecuador!

  • Specklet

    I would KILL to be able to get these! I used to make my own out of worn out sweaters, but they weren’t half as cute as these!

  • danny

    quiero unos!!! they’re so cute!

  • ill p.e.

    juchuuu!!! i got some already!!!
    yeah! warm and funky!

  • aptlifela

    i want one, too! :)

  • JK

    OMG, it’s the perfect solution to that annoying gap between your shirt and your low-waisted jeans!

  • Uleshka

    Aaaaaaah! Thanks! THAT is what I should have written… I kept looking for that sentence until I read your comment! Thank you very much!

  • x-noise

    i will got one for myself~

  • ray chan

    i want one too, but i am in hongkong…..
    it’s reli cool

    add one more benefit:
    - good for mix and match

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  • pamelabo

    i don’t see any way i can purchase them from their website – is my japanese that bad??

  • randy

    I LOOoooVEEE!!!!!!

  • jwang

    i also can’t seem to find the purchase function on their website … can you even order it online? btw. i need one … like now!

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  • Anonymous

    Am I the only skeptic? This sounds like a sales brochure, not a review or article! Anyway, we Americans don’t need this, because we have a lot of fat around the middle to keep us warm :)

  • bruno”suppe”winter

    Yummiyummiyummi, would be nice having one of them around my – fat – tummy ;) -EO=]
    What a pity, Uleshka didn´t show us her initial Haramaki, which started it all off!
    By the way: Sorry, but what does “ERR” mean?

  • bruno”suppe”winter

    Oh, I just found her!
    Greetings from my cold german tummy!

  • Anonymous

    My tummy needs protection from the cold as well. Please put up an English site before it becomes fat. Hehe, thank you!

  • adam

    oh my lordie……. i want one bad!! there is a huge shortage of tummy warmers in australia…

  • Kolahstudio

    Wonderful Designs , wonderful Clothings . I like all patterns,colors and also The Haramaki.

  • Totoro

    that weird person who posted with “ERR o” attach a very bad link in his nickname, pingmag should get rid of this kind of post-er, I saw that kind of poster that gave a very bad link in some articles comments.

  • Uleshka

    Here is some feedback on your comments!

    1. POOR I-CAN-read-Japanese-too readers: there is more info on the Japanese version of this article, so I figured, that this extra info wasn’t needed on the English version. Thanks for correcting me! Try to click on the top banner of this site here: The sale starts from the 18th!!! (…and I agree that the webdesign COULD have been made a bit more intuitive – like a big red button that says BUY or something …)

    2. I also totally understand if this article looks a bit like advertising for Hobonichi. The truth is though, that I SIMPLY LOVE THIS PRODUCT and like writing about your favorite band with info for concert tickets and CDs this is simply writing about my favorite piece of clothing which saves my life in this drafty paper-house-country!

    3. will delete annoying ERR comments in a bit

    4. not ALL Americans have fat bellies ;-)

  • karbonated

    I was just thinking while walking to class today how nice it would be to have something that would warm my belly. I hate it when air gets under my coat making my body temperature feel uneven….Chicago is starting to get a bit nippy, too.

  • Merete

    This belly warmers’ is just fantastic to look at, and I’m sure to wear!
    I wish I could get some, for me and my friends here in Denmark, where it’s rely cold right now.

  • solveig

    me want one too!

  • sookie

    beautiful. love the vintage kimono design especially. it’s cold in Toronto right now. how soon can I order one?

  • Alice

    I want one too!!!!!! :D

  • Robyn

    My cousin is in Japan right now. If they aren’t availabe to order online yet, where can she pick one up for me?

  • pamelabo

    omg ordering was crazy! i managed to squeeze out my order, though. anyone else have trouble?

  • bruno”suppe”winter

    Are the Haramaki compatible with skateboarding-couture? I almost caught a cold (tummy) yesterday because of the wind coming underneath the baggy clothes. Perhaps Itoi could cooperate with Ninja Skateboards to launch some promodel-haramaki?

  • Brook

    すごい。yea… we definitely could use this product here in america. especially with the recent ice storms.

  • Simone Sbarbati

    Definitely we all want to buy one of them!
    Please people at Hobonichi, let us non-japanese-speaking-people come into the future, too.

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  • Graham

    Holy crap I want one so much! It’s been such a cold winter in Seattle!

  • Uleshka

    WOW! I can’t believe it! I just got a mail from Nango Rumiko-san and THEY LAUNCHED AN ENGLISH SHOPPING VERSION JUST FOR US!!! (for those adventurous ones of us… ;-)

    however…. the downside is that the Japanese were SO fast in buying that there are only blankets left…. sooorry! BUT: THANK YOU SO MUCH, HOBONICHI!!!

  • MD

    I totally want one.

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  • Haramakiphiliac

    I want one of those cute haramaki’s so bad! I’m half Japanese and I have a few haramaki’s but they’re so old-fashioned and even the one’s that are kind of cute are so flimsy and not good at all! Pleeeease do something about the website so that we in America can buy them!

  • paris

    please please PLEASE translate their site! our cold tummies here in america would appreciate it!

  • Yoona

    Thanks for the good info!It was really helpful. I feel like wearing Haramaki again.

  • Heidi

    Omigosh! They look so snuggly! My belly is calling out for a Haramaki now, so please translate!!!

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  • Andrea

    I live in a dorm and my heater is kind of half-broken.. .. ie.. ITS COLD!

  • Leah

    I hope that by next year all these deserving cold bellies will be able to benefit from the combination of fashion and warmth! I WANT ONE SO BAD!!!

  • REMcRae

    Im in the middle of a cold Canadian winter and would love love love one of those adorable babies!!

  • Jerushah

    Way interested, let us know when we can buy it on the website.

  • gizmogal

    Wow! Even if we can’t buy them, maybe someone has the mesurements/type of materials used so people could knit their own! (I need a new project, anyhow :3 )

  • coldbelly

    Hobonichi,PLEASE,we want them in England NOW !!!

  • The Machine

    Gosh I need me one of those pronto!! The weather gest SO cold here in Ottawa, Canada (as in -20 to -40°C with windchill in the winter) and I am always frigging freezing, even with billions of layers. This looks so good for a constantly chilly person like me, plus they’re way cute!

    And yes, I think these would really sell fast in the North!

  • Kristin

    Cold, cold Iowa City, Iowa, wants a warm, warm belly!

  • Casey

    HFS! These are so freaking cool! I wish Brisbane was cold so we could wear them!!!

  • Caya

    I don’t get it- it’s a tube of fabric. If you want one, measure yourself, get some stretch-knit fabric, sew a seam, and wear it. I don’t get it!! Why are people seriously thinking they can’t have one of these??? I could make one in 15 minutes!!

  • Katrina

    Oh my gosh… I really really want a few of these, they are so cute! =D

  • helen -_-’

    wheeeen can weee get them…..

    awww england sucks, japan doesnt. but we already knew this//


    anyone got one yet??


  • Anonymous

    I just DID make myself one. I’m toasty, too. Come on, people- don’t be mindless sheep, pining away for one of these- just MAKE it-

  • Tadiera

    I would love one and maybe a pattern. They’re just tubes, but there’s got to be some allowance for hips and such. I’m not great at sewing…

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  • nicool

    i really want to buy some of these! please put up a site in english! they are so awesome and would warm my tummy on the cold cold days in nyc.

  • puck

    i think that this would make my happily fat belly even happier.

  • libellinchen

    PLEASE – export them to Germany! I was wearing one of these unsexy angora peaces this winter. I would by three of those Harakami warmers right away – if I only could read this funny little signs on teir homepage….

  • Elena Lombardi

    I want one, I want one!
    I’m always cold and I’m not good at sewing and I don’t speak Japanese!

    Please beg them to open an English site…

  • Ashlea

    Oh my. These are wonderful, and I want one. Or two. Or twelve.

  • nororu

    where can i get one? XD

  • Phoebe

    I want these something fierce. I’ve taken to tying scarves around my stomach but they come undone and they’re too narrow.

  • Phoebe

    Thank You!

  • amtricia

    Any idea when these will go on sale? I really would like to find out how to get one.

  • flavia

    i want one of those!
    how can i buy them?

  • IchaIchaAlanna

    Since high school I’ve been wearing tube tops this way under midrift tops, or somethimes over blouses, and now I feel a bit like, “wow, I predicted something the Japanese will think is cool someday.” Yes, I know, I am a dork. And this inspiring me to make some more (until I can read kanji a little better >_<)

  • maggie

    It’s on sale now! I just bought myself 6 haramaki. That should last me till the next sale

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  • bi.

    Does the english site already exist?!
    Im going Tokyo this year and i’ll love to have one, in fact, i’ll need one for sure..
    it’s really a great idea..

  • Jacqueline

    They’re sold out of them on the websie!!

    Does anyone know a way I can get them in Canada.

  • Tina

    Please please please set up an english site. I am from Chicago and it gets knives-cutting-at-my-face-bone-chilling-cold here! There are never enough layers to put on and even if we have enough we end up looking like multi-colored marshmallows rolling around in the streets. I think this product would be perfect for chicago, so please make an English site so I can be the first chicagoan to sport these awesome things!

  • Dequa

    Must have it – I love that its 95% cotton -can’t stand the feel of synthetics or wool on my skin.

  • rule

    In no way uncool. Watch the 1970s yakuza films that Taratino learned so much from, all the tough guys are wearing them.

  • nyankorita

    those would also be great for wearing underneath short-ish shirts and over pants, so that i can prevent the embarrassment of having the kids i work with say “aaa, sensei, your back/stomach is showing!”

  • Jenny

    I would LOVE one of those!

  • Jenny

    ..oh and get an English website!! I’d get several!

  • Big Dave

    Oh how my bloated American beer belly call out for one!

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  • Inki

    I loved the idea second I saw it, got a sweater from the thrift store, cut the bottom off and hemmed. Perfecto, my own haramaki, making more for christmas now. LOVE IT!

  • shimamoto

    I really really want one!!! Especially now it’s getting cold… Went to the Japanese webbie but they don’t have the cool designs shown here on PingMag. Please set up an english website! I’d buy a few!! Great Christmas pressies too!

  • reesa

    Please please please get an english version up. Knitting my own will take to long…

  • Dubai – Website development

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  • Micol

    I need it!!! absolutely!!! please make it available also in Italy

  • Micol

    I need it!!! absolutely!!! I always have to wear like a sherpa to avoid stomach-ace…. please make it available also in Italy

  • carol

    I am looking to buy haramaki and have been using and old cashmear neck scarf wrapped around my middle but it keeps falling off and embarrassing me. Help!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Emmanuel

    I’d really love to get one of these for my girlfriend. I’ve found the belly warmers on their website, but it looks like they’re sold out since i can’t enter any number of items i want.

    Anyone who can confirm this?

  • MeezieMom

    Please, is there an English site that is more understandable than this one?

    I’m sort of accustomed to figuring out Japanese translations, but this leaves me at a loss. Please, friends, take pity on your English-speaking readers!

  • replica watch-man

    wow, these are great…

    I’ll sure pick some up my next trip to japan.

  • Sharon

    I want one, hurry with the English translated site, its winter in Ireland and my tummy needs warming!

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  • Never teh Bride

    Bring on the English web site because, dang it, I want one!

  • Monica

    I want one! Please make it happen Haramaki Fairy. I live in England and it’s cold here

    Britain NEEDS Haramaki!

  • Niyse

    Please open an English site! Haramaki are amazing!

  • Traci

    I want ooooooooone (in California)

  • tundra

    New is well forgotten old .. The same applies to fashion

  • christopherboone

    I talk about your article in my blog.
    Spanish people will know about haramaki too!

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  • Sara

    Yes please! I’d love one!

  • Ignatz Horowitz

    Dang…don’t they have food in Japan? They all look like they’re anorexic.

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  • Anonymous


    I want a “NATURAL HARAMAKI” for me…

    I am…an italian male…[*******]…


  • Anonymous
  • Aska

    This is so cool! I hate wearing heavy layers in the winter, it always makes me feel irritated when I walk everywhere and start getting damp on the inside. I would so love a few of these!

  • enrica

    All I Wanna say is…I want one!!! It’sjust to cool to be true! ^^ hehe

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  • knittygritty

    If I made replicas of these would anyone buy them from me? I’m in the US, but of course would ship everywhere, I just want an honest opinion to get an idea of the demand… I’d use the same materials and everything….

  • Hobonichi Staff

    Thank you very much for your continued interest in our Haramaki!
    We have launched an English page – check out this site!
    If you have any problems, please let us know at

  • Courtney

    Please please start to sell somewhere in English. A friend of mine wore one of these for years and I was so jealous. I’ll be forced to knit my own, but they won’t be as stylish as these.

  • shimamoto

    FAO knittygritty

    I’ve just bought 3 haramaki from the Hobonichi site – stayed up till 3am to be able to buy it when the sale started at 11am Japan time. But if haramaki were available around the same prices or cheaper, I would order some if you were to make them. I actually prefer the old patterns/designs as seen in the pictures above which are sadly limited edition. I don’t know if you were thinking of making anything so detailed but it would be amazing if you did.

  • pixy

    recently bought some of these and is very happy :)

  • Anonymous

    Haramaki looks great and Norway is cold during winter:D I think I’ll knit one for myself soon.

  • chiemi

    Hobonichi Haramaki latest collection is NOW ON SALE!
    Click here!

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  • tiffany Jewelry

    Haramaki looks great and Norway is cold during winter:D I think I’ll knit one for myself soon

  • Vanessa

    I also really adore the haramaki’s! If they did have a shopping site in English I would definitly buy some! Though seeing as there isn’t, I have started making some myself. I have only made 2 so far – plain yellow, but I love them still and they really work. I took the pattern from this site:

    It’s instructions are very easy and clear to read. Once you make one – they’re very simple. I plan to make many more and give them as gifts and possibly start selling them once I get better at making them. So Canada will hopefully start to see more of them – if mine catch on, which I really hope they will. I would love to buy professionaly made ones as they look a lot nicer. :D

  • emma

    well it looks like the canuck version of haramaki is already out!
    they are soooo amazing, and have i’ve seen them in a bunch of stores already. !

  • keksy

    why are on haramakilove web page pictures from pingmag? (with hobonichi designs!)

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  • Logan

    Haramaki can be bought in many places!

  • Christa

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