3 June, 2021
A few years ago, during a hotel stay in Kyoto Japan, we discovered the incredible Shinto towels. Thoroughly impressed by their absorbency and luxurious smooth texture, we had to track them down in hopes of sharing the magic with our friends back in Australia. Fast forward years later, the Shinto towel has become a much-loved part of our daily routine.
In aim to learn more about the creation of this unique product, we interviewed the makers at Shinto towel with an intention to share what makes their products so special.
Each towel features combed yarns of Indian organic cotton fabric. India is renowned for their quality, long and luxuriously soft fibres. Located relatively close to Japan, Indian cotton makes a convenient and affordable choice for the fibre composition of Shinto Towels. The combing process rids the surface of any extra fluff, especially those that come about during the washing process. Additionally, combing ensures that the finished product is uniquely soft and smooth to the touch.
Each Inner Pile towel is woven using the oldest shuttle machines, while the 2.5-PLY Gauze and Yukine styles are woven with the second oldest. When asking the Shinto towel makers why they chose to continue utilizing old machines, they replied that the unique and difficult-to-weave structure of their fabrics require custom adjustments. Their craftsmen have therefore made various customisations to each old machine that would not be possible with today’s weaving technology. This has resulted in intricate and unique weaves, creating the soft and high-quality product we love.
Shinto towel makers attribute the unique absorbency of their product to the “Atozarashi” refining process. This process of refining the cotton fibres requires bleaching and washing of the fabric after weaving is complete. This practice allows any naturally occurring oils, starches or impurities to wash away, thus enhancing the fibre's high absorbency while preserving a fluffy texture. Though all three towels are absorbent, the Yukine style is highest in absorbency for double the time and effort is spent enduring the Atozarashi process.
For the Yukine towel, using white cotton fibre for the warp and various colours for the weft, aims to create a design reminiscent of earth, water or fresh greens peeking out from beneath fallen snow.
Though the company looks to preserve the traditional production of Senshu Towels, the makers at Shinto towel are unafraid of new ideas, technology and design. Regarding the conceptual question "what really is a good towel?", they believe that high functionality is essential to ensuring that the needs of customers are consistently met and satisfied, thus the materials, function and design of their products is continuously reviewed in pursuit of better outcomes.
When asked what values are essential to their company, Shinto towel replied that one of their critical values consists of constantly considering what they can further do to meet their customer’s needs, ensuring a comfortable and positive experience with their products
Special thanks to Takashi for answering our questions, we hope we've been able to share a little as to why we love Shinto towel so much.