The Japanese word for towel is taoru (English loanword) and cotton towel is wata taoru. See a list of more words below.
Interesting facts about towels in Japan
The first Western towels to arrive in Japan were cotton towels from Britain in 1872. Shortly thereafter in the 1880s, Japan started producing their own towels.
Prior to the arrival of the Western-style towel, the Japanese had their own version – the tenugui. The tenugui was made from cotton and were much smaller (35.43 x 13.78 inches) than regular towels we are today accustomed to. They were used as dish cloths, decorations, for wrapping items and for drying oneself off after bathing. However, the tenugui fell out of favor as more and more Japanese started favoring Western towels.
The towels produced in Japan today are of exceptional quality, softness, absorbency and are quick drying. Popular Japanese brands include Imabari (who has over 50% market share in Japan), Oboro and Senshu.