Tenugi - The Traditional Hand Towels from Japan

Tenugui are Japanese traditional hand towels. The history of tenugui dates back to the Heian period (AD 794 - 1192), when they were very precious and only used for religious shinto ceremonies. Traditional tenugui cloth is made of pure cotton and the borders are simply cut without being stitched. The Tenugui therefore loses fibers at the beginning. The benefit is that Tenugui dry quickly.

About 100 years ago it became popular to add colorful patterns to Tenugui towels when artisans applied the chusen dyeing technique using stencil paper. The dye infiltrates the cloth and the patterns appear on both sides (there is no right or wrong side). When the dye fades the tenugui gets a beautiful aged look. At NIHON ICHIBAN we also offer Tenugui using other dyeing techniques such as Arimatsu tie dyeing.

Most of tenugui is 90cm in length and it could be easily used in many ways. For wrapping a gift, wrapping a lunch box, as a small bag, a handkerchief, a fashion accessory, a wash cloth, a towel, head covering under a helmet, a souvenir, etc. 

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