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Published on 04.28.2016
Tenugui, literally means hand wipe, is a rectangular sheet made with bleached cotton. As the cultivation of cotton expanded in the early Edo period, the price of cotton dropped, so tenugui became a commodity.
Tenugui was used not only for wiping hands but also as a hood and accessory, therefore numerous patterns and designs were born. During the Showa period, tenugui were replaced by towels for its main purpose, wiping hands, however because of their retro patterns and designs, tenugui became popular again in recent years as a gift and a room decoration.
Chidori-ya in Ningyo-cho
Chidori-ya was established in 2007 as a speciality store of tenugui in order to conserve the craftsmanship and historic tenugui manufacturers that represent the Edo culture. Chidori-ya stocks popular tenugui brand, such as Todaya, Kamawanu and Kenema, as well as Chidori-ya original tenugui.
Every tenugui in Chidori-ya was made by hand using the Chusen dying technique, a traditional stencil dying unique to Japan. The result are delicate patterns on both sides and a soft texture that mass-products cannot achieve.
Address: 1-7-6 Ningyo-cho, Nihonbashi, Tokyo
1-minute walk from Ningyo-cho station (Hibiya line) Exit A2
3-minute walk from Ningyo-cho station (Asakusa line) Exit A5
3-minute walk from Suitengu-mae station (Hanzomon line) Exit 8
From the Amazake Yokocho intersection, walk east (opposite Amazake Yokocho) and turn right at the first corner. Chidori-ya is on the left hand side.
Just before Chidori-ya, stands the restaurant Tamahide. It was established in 1760 and is said to be the origin of Oyako-don (chicken and eggs on rice). Join the queue for the lunch trade if you have time!
Amazake Yokocho also has many long-established shops and retains its retro atmosphere. You can enjoy the other side of this modern city here.