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Incense in Japanese Culture

Incense Inspiration

Incense in Japanese Culture

The burning of incense in a place like Japan started around the sixth century. This was the Asuka period. That was when Buddhism started officially. It made use of rituals that utilized incense. Ceremonies, too, made use of a log of incense in Japan. One of the main materials/ingredients which were used for incense in Japanese Culture was Agarwood. It was imported from China to Japan through Korea. From this point on, incense became a significant part of the culture in Japan. Incense has been used for various purposes. These purposes include meditation, ceremonies, and increasing one's sense of spirituality. 

What were the types of Japanese culture incense?

There were about two significant types of incense used in Japan. These were either smoldered or heated using tiny pieces of fragrant wood. Some of it was burnt directly in cones or sticks. These were created out of pastes without using bamboo sticks.

Several incense companies have been existing for way more than three hundred years.

japanese culture

History of Incense in Japanese Culture

The fragrant scent played a significant role from the Heian Court during the year 1671-1691.

Samurai warriors prepared for battle by cleaning their bodies and their minds using koboku incense. They developed and appreciated its scent and fragrance. At the ending of the Muromachi period in the sixteenth century, this beautiful awareness developed into what was later known as Kodo. This referred to the art of enjoying smoldered koboku incense. The present Kodo style became retained mainly due to the manner and the structure of the Muromachi period. That was a time when tea ceremonies and what is known as the ikebana flower arrangement style was created. 

How did the people of Japanese Culture Appreciate Incense?

The people of Japanese culture appreciated incense in the following ways;

• They felt incense sharpens their senses

• They felt incense purified their spirit and their bodies

• They felt incense got rid of pollutants

• They felt incense woke their spirit

• They felt incense healed the feelings of loneliness

• They felt incensed made them feel calm at turbulent periods

• They felt incensed is always pleasant even when it is in an area too much

• They felt tiny amounts of incense was more than enough

• They felt incensed doesn't break after a long period

• They felt using incense by everyone wasn’t harmful at all.

What are the materials used to make incense in Japanese Culture

The materials made to create incense in Japanese Culture include Sandalwood and Agarwood. These were some of the main ingredients that incense makers in Japan made use of.

Where are these incense materials created from?

Origins of Agarwood as a material for Japanese incense

Agarwood is created in specific parts of the southeastern part of Asia. These places include Vietnam. Japanese incense has companies that break Agarwood into about six categories. These all depend on the regions which have quality properties of Agarwood and where they could be obtained.

japanese agarwood

The trees elude aromatic resins that turn to kobuku over time. There are specific grades of kobuku, which has a very high oil content and a relatively delicate fragrance. This fragrance is also known as kyara. Kyara is presently worth a lot more than gold when one checks its weight. 

Origins of Sandalwood as a material for Japanese incense

Sandalwood is gotten basically from India, in Indonesia. It is also gotten from the southern part of Asia and the southern part of China. Sandalwood has trees that need around sixty years to create their beautiful, wonderful fragrance, which is accepted and could create kōdo. One of the most valued Sandalwood is obtained from Mystore. This is one of the Karnataka States found in India. There, it is a little bit endangered. Makkō, as translated from Japanese to English as incense powder, is typically used to merge all of the ingredients. It can easily merge this ingredient without adding its scent to the mixture.

japanese sandalwood

List of other materials used in making Japanese incense

Other materials used to create Japanese incense add to Japanese culture, including herbs like star anise, safflower, rhubarb, camomile, spikenard, patchouli, licorice, lavender, ginger lily, clove, myrobalan, chebulic, and cinnamon bark. Some fragrances are derived from the shell and other aromatic materials used to create Japanese incense.

Types of Japanese Incense

Japanese culture has two specific incense types, which have been used in the thirteenth century and the sixteenth century. But these forms of incense have been ritualized, and modern versions of these incense are used to date. These ancient and present Japanese culture incense includes the following listed below;

japanese culture

1. Sasaki Dōyō was used through the period of 1306–1373

Anyone who uses this incense is known as someone who has a lot of luxury and an infinite amount of elegance. It was usually used by people from the quintessential military aristocrat family around the Nanboku-chō period. This family had several trees which created the ingredients to make incense. This is why these owners named the Japanese incense.


A nation like Japan or people following Japanese culture has substantial uses for their natively formed incense. They don't joke with it, and you could find it in their apartments or homes. It doesn't matter which part of the world they live in. They have a high level of respect for incense from their Japanese culture. They have every right to because their incense has a lot of quality.

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