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YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogTenugui: Japan’s Cute and Versatile Hand Towels!

Tenugui: Japan’s Cute and Versatile Hand Towels!

By Devon Lord-Moncrief
June 01, 2023
Shelves of colorful tenugui in a store.

Everyone loves a fantastic souvenir! What people love even more is an excellent souvenir that isn’t just nice to look at but has significant practical uses. Japan is brimming with fantastic culture, from anime to more traditional fare. For those looking to find the perfect gift for themselves or someone else, it would be difficult to go wrong with tenugui!

They also excel as gorgeous and stylish additions to someone’s home. If having a super versatile gift that will provide countless uses sounds good, read on to learn more about these great towels and how they can brighten your home!

What are tenugui exactly?

Tenugui (hand wipers) typically utilize cotton cloth and have measurements of 35x90cm. Furthermore, they’re famous for their long sides with a hem while intentionally leaving the short sides unfinished to allow for fraying.

A stack of traditional Japanese tea towels.
Tenugui is a traditional Japanese towel. Image via Wikicommons

The construction of tenugui is straightforward, as every towel is plain woven. The simplicity of tenugui often results in a low price tag, making them very affordable for home use and as souvenirs. Even though tenugui are simple in design, their value and quality make them an absolute steal.

What can I use tenugui for?

The wonderful thing about tenugui is that there are countless ways to use them. Tenugui make excellent washcloths, both for personal use and for dishwashing. Their simple design and small size make them incredibly useful as sweatbands and headbands. Japan can become quite warm in the spring and summer, so they can become indispensable for those fighting the heat.

Rows and rows of colorful Japanese tea towels.
Tenugui are gorgeous and versatile! Image via Shutterstock

They also serve decorative purposes. With their traditional printing featuring bright and attractive colors and designs, they add a great touch to home decorations. Tenugui can also be utilized for traditional gift wrapping, making them ideal choices for gift-giving and DIY projects!

How can I use tenugui?

While terry cloth products have taken the spotlight at home, tenugui still shine in traditional applications beyond your humble abode. In the realm of kendo, the exciting Japanese martial art of bamboo swords, they take center stage as headbands worn beneath protective helmets. Though they may not steal the limelight like other kendo gear, this trusty towel add an extra layer of safeguarding pizzazz that shouldn’t be underestimated.

These lively tea towels bring joy and versatility to tea ceremonies! You can use them for various tea rituals, adding a touch of elegance or simplicity with their charming patterns. They’re the perfect sidekicks to your tea adventures, adding a splash of color and whimsy to every sip! Get ready to twirl and swirl with these delightful tea towel companions!

A green tenugui with an onigiri print.
This rice ball pattern is downright adorable! Image via Shutterstock

From vibrant designs to luxurious motifs, tenugui effortlessly adapts to any ceremony. Embrace the rich tradition of tea ceremonies and let them play a vital role in creating an unforgettable experience. Don’t underestimate them—it’s a must-have for every tea enthusiast!

Are you looking for adorable accessories like tenugui? Check out YumeTwins! YumeTwins sends kawaii character goods from Japanese plushies and figurines to accessories and home goods straight from Japan right to your door!

What kind of designs do they have?

Tenugui brings endless excitement with its boundless array of designs. The options are limitless, from vibrant solid colors to mesmerizing geometric patterns and exquisite traditional Japanese floral art! Get ready to add a playful touch to your home and discover the perfect tenugui that matches your unique style. It’s time to embrace their fun and charm!

There are many different places to purchase tenugui, both in and out of Japan. Countless stores and dedicated shops sell them, many with unique designs. Cities, shrines, historical sites, and tourist attractions all offer these cute towels to visitors.

Independent vendors sell tenugui online, as well. These websites and artists offer the same incredible selection of styles, prints, and especially themes! If making a trip to Japan isn’t possible now, there’s no need to worry, as plenty of online stores are available to help.

Tenugui on sale in a Japanese store.
You can pick up tenugui at most stores in Japan! Image via Fleemy

Whether bought as gifts for that special person or simply for home use, these towels make excellent purchases. They are an integral part of traditional Japanese culture and a colorful reminder of a special occasion.

Having a multi-purpose towel that cleans you and your house and looks cute and stylish is always a win. When the time comes to find a great gift or treat yourself with something you’ll come to cherish, finding the perfect tenugui is the way to go.

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Devon Lord-Moncrief

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