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Travelers’ Treasures / Yu Nakagawa Hanafukin (Tea towels)

Mosquito netting is an ancient specialty of Nara. However, due to lifestyle changes, the demand for mosquito netting, which is water absorbent, breathable, and quick-drying, is dwindling. Yu Nakagawa Hanafukin tea towels take advantage of these qualities in a beautiful and functional manner. Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten Co., a venerable hemp fabric shop with a 300-year history, makes these towels. These double-layered tea towels sewn by experienced craftsmen out of coarse weave mosquito netting measure 58 centimeters by 58 centimeters, about four times the size of regular tea towels. Folding them makes them even more absorbent and they dry quickly when unfolded and hanged, so they can be kept clean. Their uses vary widely. They can be used to wipe dishes and prepare meals, as well as used as wiping cloths when they become old and ragged. These tea towels embody the Japanese value of using things carefully until the end of their life cycle.

Price: ¥756-¥1,080 for a towel (Price differs by type)

Manufacturer: Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten Co. in Nara (yu-nakagawa.co.jp)

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