Tenugui is a simple, seamless, thin cotton cloth which has been used in Japan for many centuries. Though its literal translation is ‘hand towel’, te means ‘hand’ and nugui is ‘to wipe’, tenugui has a rich variety of uses, from cleaning to accessorizing. Its rectangular shape and dyed patterns make it particularly well suited for wrapping gifts, as well as for protective wrapping of everyday items.
In Japan, wrapping an object is not just a practical means of covering it up, but an art form in itself. The Japanese culture of wrapping dates back to the Jōmon period (Japan’s prehistoric period, approximately14,000-1000 BCE), developing over several thousand years and encompassing many different types of wrapping, from practical and decorative to ceremonial. Read our story about the Japanese culture of wrapping, to learn more.
In August 2019, The Shop manager and wrapping expert from Japan House led a workshop on the art of Japanese wrapping techniques, at The Rubens at the Palace Hotel in London. The demonstration presented a variety of wrapping methods, using tenugui to wrap items such bottles, and small boxes without the use of scissors or cellotape.
A variety of tenugui are available in The Shop at Japan House London and guests making a purchase are able to have their items gift wrapped using these techniques. For more information about this, please ask The Shop staff at checkout.