tenugui (Japanese towel)

tenugui (Japanese towel)

Nijiyura Tenugui

Nijiyura tenugui is a brand of Japanese hand towels, hailing from the friendly town of Sakai, Osaka. With a history spanning many decades, Nijiyura tenugui use a special bleaching and dyeing technique called Chusen. The Japanese word Chusen (注染) is made up of the Chinese characters for ‘pour’ () and dye (). Thus, the Chusen dying technique is as the name suggests- dying by pouring dye into the cloth.

The process of dying begins with 25 meter-long swaths of crisp, pure white cotton, layered upon each other, to which an intricate pattern paper is adhered. An anti-dye adhesive is applied, creating negative areas on the fabric. Then, the dyeing process can begin. By pouring the dye through the top of the cloth with a small watering can-like pot, 30-40 tenugui cloths can be dyed simultaneously. There is no front or back side to the dyed cloth and it can be dyed from either side of the fabric.

Chusen’s pour-dyeing method involves a number of different steps, all of which are carried out by hand by a craftsman, creating unique, individual pieces.

The most attractive feature of Chusen dyeing is the subtle and gentle blurring and bleeding   of colors, creating a beautiful uniqueness that can only be conveyed through the handwork of a craftsman.

Care Instructions:

  • Do not wash with other items.
  • Do not wash with synthetic detergents, bleach or other whitening agents.
  • After washing, dry flat in the shade.
  • Do not soak or drip dry.
  • There may be some shrinkage after washing. Use steam when ironing.
  • If the ends of the fabric begin to fray after regular use and washing, cut off loose strands with a pair of scissors. This will prevent further unravelling.


Nijiyura tengui use “Ko-Sarashi” fabric. Woven in Japan, Ko-Sarashi has a tighter weave less warping compared to other types of fabric. The Japanese bleaching process takes longer to more remove impurities; resulting in a crisp, white fabric perfect for dying. The texture of Ko-Sarashi is incredibly soft and smooth against the skin, making it great for both tengui and clothing such as high quality yukata.

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