How tenugui are made

“Tenugui” hand towels, perfect as souvenirs

“Tenugui” hand towels, perfect as souvenirs

How to make Japanese Tenugui by chusen method.

Who was the first person to create this complicated process, and what lead them to think this was a good idea?

Reading reviews of tenugui (手ぬぐい) I frequently see poor reviews. People complain the ends fray to much, and ask why aren’t the edges hemmed. I think they just don’t understand how to properly condition them.

Several sets of 3 tenugui are available on Amazon for about $17. But tenugui made by the by chusen method are more expensive. Kiroko in Portland, Ore. has a nice selection some made by chusen method used in the above video.

How to clean up the edge of Tenugui?

Kiromade tenugui collection


I liked this towel.


Tenkara USA is now offering these on their website for sale. I believe they cost $15 plus shipping. David, thank you very much for the information and video.

Mike, I have ordered things from the Oni-shop a couple of times and the order when received had a piece of fabric included. I thought they were a thoughtful gift of some Japanese print fabric perhaps left over from making rod bags.

It wasn’t until I saw the tenugui on the TUSA website that I realized the fabric in my Oni-shop order was a tenugui, a gift meant to share a bit of traditional Japanese culture. One is sakura pattern in burgundy color. The other one is dark blue and white, what I think, is called asanoha pattern.

Researching tenugui I discovered another traditional Japanese decorative stitching called - sashiko, 刺し子. (little stabbing, running stitches) Kind of like embroidery, but a little different. Which is frequently sewn in the same patterns printed on tenugui.

Currently my wife is heavy into making complicated quilts. taking classes, sewing little triangles into complicated patterns. I’ve suggested she might find it interesting to include some sashiko pieces into some of her quilts. I’ve been trying to learn to sew myself, making stuff sacks, to various designs, out of rip stop nylon. Sewing a straight seam is not as easy as it appears to be. I could never sew any of her quilt patterns. However, each new stuff sack I make is a little nicer than the previous one made, and I’m making some custom fit stuff sacks. All are functional if not exactly pretty. It has been suggested to me that I make the sashiko pieces as a break from sewn seams that aren’t as straight as they ought to be. Ah, maybe. Learning how to tie nets is also on my winter-time bucket list. Net making is another ancient art.

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“刺し子” is a reinforcement of decoration and cloth
The design has meaning

I like it very much, too
I am glad that you know “刺し子”


Sashiko has an interesting history. Evolving from a way to mend clothing, or to add layers of fabric to make garments warmer in old days. Somewhere I read that in old times there was a saying, “if a piece of fabric is large enough to wrap 3 soy beans it should be kept and used”. No throw way culture in difficult times.

I find 刺し子ふきん (sashiko fukin) interesting. [best to be careful how you say that in English] :open_mouth:

I think I may have already watched the first two of those videos, and several others, too. The bottom video is a nice one. The middle video is a young guy, Atsushi Futatsuya, from upcyclestitches website. Who with, I think his mother Keiko, promotes sashiko in Japan and in NYC. A lot of good information about it’s different forms is accessible to English readers on their website, or on their YTC ,


Yes, Mr.David sir.:wink:

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David, thank you for this information. I think someone also sent me a tenugui and I thought the same thing. I didn’t have a clue about what the fabric would be used for except that it was a nice gesture.
I learn something every time I log on to this site. Thank you again, David. :wolf:

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Thank you Todoroki-san for the three videos and information. This is amazing!!! :wolf:


DIY 形の良いエコバッグ 手ぬぐい2本で TENUGUI remake easy to make

[ 形の良いエコバッグ 手ぬぐい2本で - Good form eco bag with 2 tenugui]

Takes a couple of views to follow the sewing directions. Seems doable. Or one could use any fabric of choice of about 33 x 90 cm.

Geez, if I correctly understood Todoroki=san’s instructions in a previous forum thread. A tenugui is also a kind of cook utensil. Well, sort of. The instructions appears to be - dampen the rice in the stream, wrap the rice inside a dampened tenugui. Then bury the tenugui in the ground, place a stone over the hole the rice is buried in (as a lid), build your wood fire on top of the stone. No time was given, but I’d guess about 20 minutes or so. See:

Carry your rice home in the DIY bag, then cook the rice inside a tenugui. :open_mouth:


tontonオリジナル日本手ぬぐい [6996] tonton original Japanese tenugui [6996]

tontonオリジナル手ぬぐいのご案内 Guide to tonton original tenugui.
iow, how it is made. The full process with many interesting patterns hanging in their tall drying area. The 手拭い干場, tenugui hoshiba. Typically 10m ~ 12m in height, the length of the tenugui from the manufacturing process, before they are cut to the length for sell. The room seen in the video thumbnail image.
Maybe a greater appreciation about how they are made.

The internet search phrase used to find the above links was
日本手拭い加賀染め. Japanese tenugui Kaga-dyed.


Now and again, while searching the internet for Japanese tenkara websites, I stumble upon the blog [道草楽描] of Itō Takashi, [伊東孝志].

He describes his blog as a - sketch diary of a wandering painter.

I don’t why his blog shows up once in a while in my tenkara searches, he seems to be mostly a sea kayaking, beach camping guy.

I admire his sketching skills, the type of talent I’d like to have. You might enjoy his sketches, too. Even if they are not about tenkara or keiryū fishing.

I stumbled upon his blog again today, and decided to read his profile, where he writes he is dedicated to painting, writing, and making tenugui. [てぬぐい作り].

Someone has to make the images for making tenugui. The necessary step needed before doing the chūsen [注染] dying of the cloth. :smile:

Two tenugui created for a firewood stove company.

薪ストーブ・ライフ 手ぬぐい Firewood stove life tenugui

薪ストーブ・ライフ 手ぬぐい 2 Firewood stove life tenugui 2

I also discovered he has a website that sells his tenugui designs. Yadokari House.

One of his 注染手ぬぐい [ chūsen tenugui]
ブーゲンビリアと石畳 赤 , bougainvillea (tree) and cobblestone red
yadokari-house bougainvillea and cobblestone red tenugui

Beautiful tenugui.

However, I just wanted to highlight that artist are also needed to create tenugui, and mostly hoped you would enjoy seeing Itō Takashi-san’s sketches on his blog. :wink:


Someone else made the tenugui.
You can also expand the utiltiy of tenugui by making it into something useful beyond the obvious use as a hand towel. :grin:

Here is a quick and useful one. Easy to remember too.


[Trick] How to make a tenugui pot holder.

Associated web site

kurashinista 【裏技】手ぬぐいで鍋つかみを作る方法


How cool is this tenugui?

Ōnishi-san (大西さん) had it custom made in 2014 by the Asakusa Tenugui shop, [Someno-Anbō Asakusa Honten | 浅草 手ぬぐい ・半纏 染物専門店] for a friend to commemorate him catching 1,000 fish.

Actually 1,095 fish caught over 65 days fishing between March and November in 2013. About 17 fish/ fishing-day average. :astonished:

Read the rest of the story on the - troutinn blog. March 2, 2014 てぬぐい

The Asakusa Tenugui shop:

www.anbo English page

Translated - Anbo custom order webpage

A youtube video 染の安坊 捺染 [Anbo Dyeing Print] from the company youtube channel [浅草染の安坊].

A different method from the chūsen [注染] dyeing method shown earlier. From what I’ve read it is easier to make finer details on the fabric with this method.


A more recent method of making tenugui are the - hirali tenugui. [ひらり手ぬぐい]
They are printed on both sides, with different colors. Using rolling printer techniques. Quite the trick on thin cotton fabric.

As far as I determine only one company has mastered this method.

"In fact, 60-year-old artisan Eiji Kakuno [of the textile dyeing company Takeno Senko Ltd.] is currently the only tenugui dyeing expert who has achieved and perfected the process.

Printed using a specialized roller dyeing machine, Kakuno’s tenugui not only sport sharply defined patterns on both sides, but those patterns are completely different colors. The dye has to saturate the cotton to achieve an even finish and yet somehow there is no overlapping or bleeding." - Japan Times

How it is done. Tenugui Fes production tour. Mystery of the reversible Hirali Tenugui.

shakaika blog Oct 2018 hirali_tenugui

Takeno Senko Ltd.

Takeno Senko Ltd. hirali


I asked my daughter to sew several masks from one tenugui.


Skillful sewer, good job. Unique custom made mask. A warm color for the cool high latitudes.
Now you will be safe from spreading your own germs to others.

But I’m sorry to report that if you want to avoid breathing in germs from others - you will need an N 95 type mask, which are designed to filter out 95% of what you could breath in. vs surgical type mask that are made to do the opposite - block stuff you breath out.

Anyway, Vladimir. I was thinking about you just yesterday. Thinking you are probably still in the ice. :cloud_with_snow: While I felt like I was going to melt in high humidity air that blew in yesterday morning.

Where I live 4 days ago it was cool enough that a light jacket was needed outside. We were finishing sawing and splitting the two trees in our yard we had cut down early last fall. The work had mostly halted during winter. But the goal was to mow the yard by Thursday. Killer work on my arms, as I am not used to swinging a sledge hammer at iron wedges.

But early yesterday morning very humid air blew in from the south. It felt more like July than March.

I was thinking, I bet Vladimir is not yet experiencing hot weather and digging out short pants to wear.
But today is a new day. Strong winds all day have blown the humid air away. It would be a fine day to go fishing. If the wind wasn’t blowing so strongly. :wind_face:


March 27, 2020 YT upload - fishing in Russia (I think). Maybe 8 more weeks before tenkara is possible.

Practicing social distancing, where even the fish want a mask.

I am not sure why the narrator’s voice sounds so strange. Nor why the video thumbnail image changed from a frame showing fish with a surgical mask, which is what lured me into clicking on the video, to this image. :thinking:

Don’t know how it happened, but I stumbled upon the video while looking for information about Russian Andrianova Compass. (Компас Адрианова). Must be like the old game where a message is whispered once to the next person, and by the time the last person in the chain hears the message it has completely changed.

It’s still a long time to wait for the tenkar. It’s winter yet.

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maybe this will help with the compass.

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