It’s totally business class! It’s commonplace to serve “oshibori” at restaurants in Japan
When entering Izakayas or restaurants in Japan hand towels are always given to customers when they are shown to their seats.
From simple things like moist towelettes to moistened towels and so on at restaurants and Izakayas are given to customers.
One type among the “Oshibori” in use, warm wet towels are called “atsushibo” and cold “Oshibori” are called “tsumeshibo.”
Oshibori actually has a long history. It is said that wet cloths were provided to guests by the nobility during Heian period.
In the later Edo period, the use of hand towels or “tenugui” spread, temporary stuffed towels and towels are prepared at the entrance of the inn called “Hatago,” and the customers soaked the towels in the water of the tub. It is said that customers wiped dirty hands and feet.
This act of “squeezing” is said to be the origin the practice and became the etymology of the modern “Oshibori” (wet towel).
And with the restoration after the war an increase in eating and drinking establishments in Japan triggered the birth of the custom “Oshibori”.
At the time of its birth, it is said that hand washing towels were handed out one by one. It is said that it became a trigger for the development of the restaurant industry and became a mass production system.
A good point of wet towels is that they excellent in hygiene.
Regarding hygiene, hygiene standards are established by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
Among those criteria, there is “to warm the towel when offering it to customers, it is desirable to keep it below 4°C when not being warmed up.”
As for disinfection methods, it is required to immerse in hot water of 80°C or more for at least 10 minutes – or steamed at 100°C or more for at least 10 minutes.
In other words, it is no exaggeration to say that if the wet towel is warm, it is evidence that hygiene standards are being protected. So, the Oshibori provided that can be used with peace of mind is allows people to enjoy their meal with peace of mind.
The towel is representative of hygiene in Japan.
When eating at restaurants in Japan, please also have a look at the “Oshibori.”