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Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding, ori means folding and kami means paper. The goal is to transform a single sheet of square paper into a sculpture, by solely using folding techniques without any cutting and gluing.


In the 6th century, paper was introduced to Japan. During this time, the practice of paper-folding emerged as a ceremonial Shinto ritual. Since Japan’s Edo Period (1603 – 1868) origami started to be seen as an art form and leisurely activity. The first known book about Japanese origami, the Senbazuru Orikata (“How to fold one thousand cranes’’), appeared in 1797.


Almost any type of paper can be used for folding. The only requirement is that you should be able to make a crease. Origami paper weighs slightly less than copy paper, making it suitable for a wider range of models. However, to fold a crane bird (which we will explain below) you can use normal 70–90 g/m2 copy paper as well. The more difficult models might require special origami-paper, which comes in various prints and can bought in most craft stores and online.


With origami, you’re only limited by your imagination. There are countless different origami models, such as a heart, a lotus flower or what about a fortune teller? As a beginner it may seem difficult but we will teach you how to fold origami step by step.


The traditional paper crane is probably the best-known of all origami models. It is a representation of the Japanese red-crowned crane and has a special significance in Japan. In Japanese mythology, this bird is known as the “Honourable Lord Crane” and its wings are said to carry souls up to heaven. The Japanese name for this model is ‘tsuru(鶴)’, which simply means ‘crane’. The crane bird is a symbol of fortune; for hope and healing in challenging times.

Create your own

Isn’t this period, while we are going through a lockdown, the perfect time to learn new things? And you know what, folding a crane is actually not too difficult! You don’t even need to leave the house – all you need is a single square sheet of paper. Feeling excited to learn how to fold a ‘tsuru’ yourself? Watch the video and have a look at the instructions. Step by step you will learn how to fold one yourself.

How did it go? We would love it if you share the result of your crane bird with us on social media. Please tag us and we will share your own origami crane bird on our platforms.

Stairs Lobby of Hotel Okura Amsterdam

enbazuru | A thousand cranes

Three hundred
and twenty-three
origami cranes
were folded
one by one
to give you
granted happiness
and eternal good luck.