Translated by Jay Issei Karslake
Towels Handmade With Care: Kamawanu Tenugui Specialty Shop
Written by Jumpei Kawashima
Tenugui or hand towels can be used for almost anything. Come and see for yourself some of the never-before imagined designs and uses of these traditional Japanese goods.
Tenugui ("hand towels") are an everyday necessity and have long been treated as such in Japan. These long towels have multiple uses, from simply drying your hands after washing them to being wrapped around one's head in order to block out the sun.
Kamawanu Asakusaten carries traditional as well as daily life goods such as tableware. All of the items sold at Kamawanu have been handmade with care by Japanese artisans.
This time we'll be introducing you to the everyday life of Kamawanu's suggested hand towel.
Practical Uses of Hand Towels
How to use a tenugui. Photo courtesy of Kamawanu
Standard towels come in varying sizes based on what purpose they are meant to serve. On the other hand, tenugui are all on size, making them useful for a wider variety of purposes. Today we would like to introduce to you some of the many ways of using a tenugui, other than to dry your hands or block the sun.
If you feel slightly chilly, you can place a tenugui across your lap.
It can also be used as a napkin when you're going to eat or drink.
Tenugui are perfect for carrying bottles, such as wine, Japanese sake or other drinks. They can be easily wrapped and tied about bottles, and look great. Please give this a try.
Tenugui make great wrappers for various goods as they can cushion and absorb shock better than plastic bags.
They also make great place mats when you're having a meal. There are so many different tenugui designs to choose from that you can collect them and pair the designs to your meals. Having a different design with every meal can make everyday a little more exciting and fun!
When they are folded neatly, tenugui take up very little space, making them ideal for picnics and other outdoor activities. You can even use them as a carrier for your lunch; just wrap up your lunchbox and chopsticks together, tie the knot and your're ready to go.
Incorporating Tenugui into Fashion!?
Recently tenugui have started finding their way into fashion. You can wrap them about your neck like an accent scarf, or wear it as a headband.
The staff here demonstrated one way to wear a tenugui that's both stylish and useful. With so many different colors and designs to choose from, you are sure to find some to match your outfits, so why not try it for yourself?
All of the tenugui sold at Kamawanu have been individually dyed by professional artisans.
The standard size of a tenugui is 90cm x 33 cm and are available in a wide assortment of traditional Japanese prints, animal themes and seasonal patterns.
The Kamawanu Asakusa shop has their own exlusive tenugui designs too. For example, towels featuring the Asakusa's famous Sensōji Temple can be found here and are a perfect and practical souvenir.
The products sold at Kamawanu are particular in that they are all handmade. It goes without saying that the towels are handmade, but all of the daily life goods are too.
They have tableware, interior goods, clothing, bags, and various other products. Each beautiful product has been individually crafted and filled with the feelings of the artisans.
At Kamawanu you can experience the warmth that is lacking in mass-produced goods.
Life with Tenugui
Established 29 years ago, Kamawanu has been trying to spread the everyday use of tenugui to the masses.
The logo of the store seen in the window is a playful pictograph of the parts of the name Kamawanu: kama (a sickle), wa (a ring), with the hiragana character for 'nu' at the end.
Kamawanu also has a secondary meaning in Japanese: "don't worry". The message of the shop is that "we won't try to push any special treatment on you, so please feel free to stop by and browse in our shop".
Kamawanu Asakusa aims to blend tenugui with everyday goods. If you are shopping in Asakusa and looking for handmade goods with heart, please stop by Kamawanu Asakusa and look at their tenugui and other Japanese products.
Address: Tokyo, Taitō, Asakusa 1-29-6
Credit Cards: All major cards accepted
Other Languages: -
Nearest Station: Asakusa station (浅草駅) of Toei Asakusa Line/Tokyo Metro Ginza Line/Tōbu Skytree line
Access: 5 minute walk from A5 exit of Asakusa Line, 3 minute walk from Exit 6 of Ginza Line, main exit of Tōbu Skytree Line
Price Range: 900 yen-3000 yen
Phone Number: +81-3-6231-6466
Website: Kamawanu Asakusa