Imabari city is located in Ehime prefecture.
In recent years, Imabari towels have become known throughout the whole of Japan. Among you, dear readers, there may be some who use Imabari towels?
What is it that makes Imabari towels different from others?
How are towels made?
In order to answer such questions, we would like to introduce Texport Imabari; a place where visitors can learn about and experience Imabari towels, and where Japan’s largest official Imabari towel shop is located.
This is Texport Imabari, the base for spreading information about Imabari towels. Within the building there is a workshop where you can see how the towels are made, historical archives, and the main Imabari towel shop.
Towels are indispensable in our everyday lives.
I wonder, how long towels have actually existed??
There is no reliable documentation, but it is said that the concept was first proposed in France in 1811. Towels arrived in Japan in 1872 and began to be manufactured in Imabari in 1894. A cotton flannel (check Point 1) machine was remodeled to weave towels, and production began.
Production of towels with a jacquard weave, one of Imabari towels’ special characteristics, was begun in 1924. (Jacquard weave refers to textiles with complex patterns.)
During the 1960s, the area became the biggest towel production area within Japan, and the place to learn about its history is the Imabari towel historical archives.
(Point 1) Cotton flannel… A light and soft fabric with raised cords on one or both sides.
In Imabari, towel production started in the 1890s, but the history of textiles in Imabari is much longer; the oldest currently known description of it dates back to the Heian period (794-1185)
This is a reproduction of the loom that was first used for making Imabari towels. It really looks like it might appear in a fairy tale…
After learning about the history of Imabari towels, let’s see how towels are made.
The towel workshop was opened again in 2012. A real loom that you normally would not be able to see is set up and you can observe how Imabari towels are actually made.
This is Mr. Tojima who is in charge of the workshop. Those who wish to take a tour, please make a reservation a day before your visit.
After touring the workshop, I head to the Imabari towel main shop.
Serving as a distinctive mark, the products certified under the Imabari towel brand have the Shikoku Towel Industrial Association logo attached, and all fill the certification standards.
The Imabari towel main store is an official shop that mainly sells certified Imabari towels. With around 25 thousand items on offer, it is the largest shop in Japan.
All of the products are wonderful, but I decided to introduce some of my favorites.
White towels are really popular even among Imabari towels. I say “white towels”, but there are so many!
I also like colorful towels like these, too.
This is the towel product that I want the most. It’s a bathrobe that feels wonderful to the touch…
They are really popular even among non-Japanese customers!
And lastly, these.
They’re towel handkerchiefs with Bary-san, Imabari’s mascot character which is currently popular all over Japan.
They make good presents even for adults!
Imabari towels have continued to develop throughout their long history. First they went from Imabari to the whole of Japan, then to the rest of the world. We recommend visiting, if you come to Imabari.
Imabari towels are also sold online, as well as in many locations in Tokyo, Osaka and at other places all over Japan.
Do try them out at least once, and experience their good quality for yourself.
Address: 5 Chome-14-3 Higashimon-cho, Imabari city, Ehime prefecture
Imabari Towel Main Store & Imabari Towel Historical Archives
Business hours: 9.00-18.00 Open every day (Excluding New Year’s holidays)
Business hours: 9.00-17.00 Open every day (Excluding New Year’s holidays)
Imabari Towel Official Online Shop http://www.imabari-towel.jp/ (Japanese)
Reference Homepage http://www.imabari-texport.com/index.html (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Maki Ohashi
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