Omotenashi Oshiboli

Japanese culture

My name is Satomi : Tokyo “Shitamachi” Local town Concierge of Susy’s Zoo Japanese & Nail.

Do you know the oshibori that you get when you go to a restaurant in Japan?
How do you usually use an oshiboli?

Wipe your dirty hands.
Wipe your hands before eating.
Wipe your face


Today, I would like to talk about oshiboli and Oshiboli.

History of Oshiboli

A brief history of oshiboli can be found in the Muromachi period (1336-1573), when court nobles offered “wet cloths” to their guests, which is said to be the original form of oshiboli. The purpose was to wipe their dirty hands and feet and go up to their rooms. Then, after the war, with the increase in the number of restaurants, I have heard that the oshibori business was born.

The “oshiboli manners” ?

Some manners instructors teach “Do not wipe your face”.
I don’t see it much these days, but I used to see people wiping their faces.
If you look back at the history of oshiboli, it was used to wipe dirty hands and feet, so historically speaking, wiping your face is not a problem.

What oshiboli vendors say about how to use oshiboli

One Oshiboli vendor told me that one of the problems he has with the use of Oshiboli is when they are wiped with wine or coffee and some of the stains do not come off even after washing. Nowadays, such stains may be removed already, but he said, “Wiping your face is not a problem.

Manners and vendors
If it’s manners, how can a hand towel vendor not know manners?
Who do you trust more, the etiquette instructor or the vendor?

Globalization of Oshiboli

Perhaps it was for the Olympics, but the design of R.S.S.’s Oshiboli has changed.

This is an oshibori. An oshibori is a wet towel used for wiping your hands and face.
Every oshibori is washed and sterilized, so please feel rest assured while using it.

I’ve seen paper hand towels overseas, but I don’t remember seeing many hand towels like this, so I think it’s a nice “Omotenashi” to write what it says and how to use it on the bag.

If you look at the English written by the hand towel vendor, wiping your face and hands is no problem.
So, it’s not a manner that you should never do.
“So, what should I do? I think there is more than one answer to this question.

There is more than one answer.

Recently, I feel that many Japanese are looking for an answer, perhaps because of manners and manualization.
However, I believe that if we have the spirit of Omotenashi, we can make decisions and take actions on our own. (What is “Omotenashi” ?)
Even if you are told that it is okay to wipe your face with an oshiboli, what would you do if you were having dinner with the president or a business partner in a formal place?
I don’t usually wipe my face with a hand towel, but I think that if it’s between two friendly people, I wouldn’t mind wiping my face.
However, even if you are not friends, if your face is dirty, it would be better to have someone wipe it off so that you can eat comfortably.
I think it is important to have a “spirit of Omotenashi” in order to act in such a way while considering consideration for others on the spot.



If a tourist from abroad wipes his face, some people might think that he is someone who is used to Japan. Some people might think so.

If you are interested in Sushi culture, I recommend SUSHIDO with sushi (We also have vegetarian menu) when you visit to Tokyo.

If you are interested in Shitamachi(Do you know Shitamachi?) ,secret spots in Tokyo and Japanese casual conversation for trip, I recommend Online Japanese lesson.