What are Tenugui?

What are Tenugui used for?

Tenugui are a thin cotton fabric that’s traditionally been used as a hand towel in Japan. “Te” means "hand" and “nugui” means "to wipe".

In modern Japan, it is enjoyed as wall art – a wide variety of patterns and colours are available! You’ll often see Tenugui used in a Japanese kitchen too. It gets dry quicker than towels, people love using them as a hand towel, tea towel or dish cloth.



How can I use Tenugui?

Here are the top 4 ways we love using Tenugui – Decorate, Wipe, Wear and Wrap! Tenugui are super versatile so really the usage is unlimited!


Perfect to decorate your wall - colourful, unique and beautiful. We love hanging different Tenugui as the seasons change! A hanging kit is available here. For more, read our ‘Hanging Tenugui’ page.


In your kitchen, use it as a tea towel. Going for a run or working hard in your allotment? Use Tenugui as a towel – it’s the Japanese way!


Perfect as a scarf or headband as it’s so soft and feels good on your skin. In Japan, Tenugui are also used in martial arts like kendo, various festivals and in classical Japanese dance.


Just like Furoshiki, you can use Tenugui to wrap gifts.


What is the difference between Tenugui and Furoshiki?

Size & Material: The main difference is the size, thickness and the finish of the material.

Tenugui are long and thin. Our Tenugui are roughly 34cm wide and 90cm in length. It’s soft and light. 

The end of Tenugui on the short side is unfinished on purpose and is not stitched (the long side is stitched). This is the character of Tenugui! It is intentionally unfinished making it dry quicker!

Furoshiki is a square cloth and thicker than Tenugui. Our small Furoshiki are usually 50cm square and the large one is 100cm square.

Function: Tenugui are often used as art on the wall. Japanese also use them daily as a hand towel, kitchen wipe, as a scarf etc.

Furoshiki is mainly used to wrap gifts and carry things. Large Furoshiki are often used as a bag. See our range here.

Made in Japan