Together with tenugui, hana-fukin - literally kitchen cloth - represents the basic cloth that every Japanese household needs to have, as they perfectly complement with each other: while the tenugui is made of a finer cotton fabric, the hana-fukin is a bit rougher and more raw, due to its peculiar origin.
A specialty of Nara prefecture, hana-fukin is actually made of mosquito net cloth: in the past, when mosquito netting declined in demand, due to changing lifestyles, its manufacturers - valuing the fabric's absorbency and durability - decided to reintroduce it as dishcloths, with immediate and utter success.
Its large size and thinness allow it to swiftly soak up any water, while, at the same time, it can quickly dry up.
Strong and durable, it can be used not only as a dishcloth, but also for straining Japanese soup stock, drying vegetables, and wrapping lunch boxes, etc. The more these dishcloths are washed, the softer and more comfortable to the touch they become.