‘Tenugui’; the perfect souvenir from Kyoto

A “tenuguihand towel, featuring a traditional scene from the ancient capital of Japan in the summer, is the hot ticket item to wrap around the head, wash oneself with or even use as a fine decoration.

Using pattern paper, craftsmen of 400-year-old dyed goods maker Eirakuya were dyeing fine patterns on its 100-percent cotton tenugui towels. The new item, released in June, is a towel themed on the traditional Tanabata Star Festival, on which bamboo decorated with colored strips of paper are painted in nine colors. It is priced at 1,680 yen ($16.80).

“Consumers are seeking towels that give them the feeling of the seasons in Kyoto,” said Keisuke Iwako, 42, a product planning officer of Eirakuya. “I hope our products will bring them a sense of each season in Kyoto.”

In July, Japanese put up displays of bamboo and hang strips of paper with their wishes written on them, to celebrate the festival. On Eirakuya’s new product, one can see decorated bamboo displayed in front of traditional Kyoto-style townhouses.

The towel maker, located in Kyoto’s Nakagyo Ward, was established in 1615. It has been releasing 20 new items annually since 2000 to give consumers the feel of a changing of seasons, featuring familiar sights from around Kyoto in each season.

To make such new towels, the manufacturer used designs featuring themes between the early Meiji Era (1868-1912) and the early Showa Era (1926-1989) as a reference.


Categories: Japanese customs, Must see, Stories about Japan, Where to shop | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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