Sensu is a hand-held folding fan. The ribs are made of bamboo or sandalwood, and covered with paper or silk. Since it is foldable, it is easy to carry.
When it is folded up, it looks like a stick. When it is opened, it expands large enough to fan oneself. The shape of sensu is considered auspicious because it broadens out towards the end. This shape is associated with spreading prosperity.
Sensu, like uchiwa, is used to fan oneself to keep cool. However, unlike uchiwa, it is used on formal occasions, such as a tea ceremony. It is also an essential prop used by rakugo performers, and traditional Japanese dancers of noh and kabuki.