This Origami Hippo Cigarette Case Box, that I am presenting you today, was on my Origami to-do-list for quite some time. The famous Japanese Origami author Yoshihisa Kimura designed this very unique Origami animal box. Not only is he know for example for the Origami fairy design, but also other famous Origami animal boxes, like this Origami Tortoise Box. Update: January 25th 2016: Yoshihisa Kimura just released a new book which has all his creative Origami boxes, including this, the Hippo Cigarette Case. As of now it is only available in Japan, but you can order it from CDJapan, which ships all Japanese books without any problems. [For example, in my recent shipment, I ordered 4 Japanese Origami books – and the total per book with shipping was about $15 (divided per book). If you have never heard of CDJapan, you shouldn’t worry, as I placed about ten orders since I started with my origami website, and never had any problems receiving my items. :)] The diagram to the Origami Hippo Cigarette Case Box was originally published in two parts in 1992 in the Tanteidan Magazine Nr. 15 & 16. See more here on the archive pages of the Tanteidan website.

Tip: Papers I usually buy on Ebay or Origami Shop. Japanese books I tend to buy from CDJapan.

Paper, Ratio & Measurement

For the Origami Hippo Cigarette Case Box you will need paper with the ratio of 1:2. It is best to use bigger size paper (around 20 cm / 7.8 in – for the bigger side of the paper) – as the finished model should be big enough to use it – and not necessarily as a cigarette box! 😉 I used for my box the above mentioned size and the resulting box was about 5 cm x 7.5 cm x 3 cm / 2 in x 3 in x 1.2 in big. And paper wise, I recommend Kami or even stronger paper like Tant. I folded my model from Kami – and it turned out quite nice.


As with any folding of an Origami model, there are always test folds that are not shown in the finished article. And the Origami Hippo Cigarette Case is no exception. What I normally do is, I fold up to a certain point that is not really clear. I stop at this stage of the Origami model, and start again new with another paper. If I run into another difficulty, I will stop again – and so on. So when I fold the actual paper, I know all the stages that are unclear – and can fold my final work without any flaws.

This model’s diagram is mostly easy to follow – but there are some steps that were not really clear. For example the folding of the top part step 8 with the funny fold shown in step 9 (shaping of the eye area). What I normally do when I am not 100% sure how to proceed is, I look up other pictures on the internet to see if I can find the solution. In this case there are only 4 pictures from other people indexed in Google image search. The pictures themselves also did not help too much, so I just proceeded with what I thought was the correct folding step. And in the end it was! Also step 15 of the top part of the Origami Hippo Cigarette Case Box was not so clear (back part of the box). I managed to find my own solution (once with a tail and once without). So even if you can’t follow the diagram exactly, you can still finish your model in a nice way. Steps 8 – 11 of the bottom part of the Hippo box were also not so clear, but easier to find the solution than the previous problem steps. As I mentioned in the paragraph above, I fold test folds for all the difficult (unclear) steps, so in the end it is very easy to piece the correct folds together without messing up the work.


I am not sure if you will be able to get the diagram (Origami Tanteidan Magazine 15 & 16) still as they are from 1992, but if you manage – it is worthwhile just for this one unique model. What I saw by reading up on about the diagram to the Hippo Cigarette Case, that there is a way for members of the Japanese Origami Academic Society (JOAS) to access this diagram on their website. I am not sure how that works, as I have a subscription to the Magazine and get them bi-monthly delivered to my house – yet I don’t have any login to access that. If somebody else knows how to get the membership login for JOAS, then please let me know – and I will update this information here for others as well.


You might also be interested in my paper recommendations including different Origami paper usage, personal hints, tips & what to avoid when buying online. To get updates on my latest video tutorials, subscribe to my youtube channel, see what other Origami models I am working on right now – follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my Newsletter.