INCENSE | Heavenly Palace ( small box)
100 sticks, approx. 30min burning time.
Natural Cyprus Oil, Cinnamon, Jatamamsi and a special blend of Zanzibar Cloves.
The fragrance of this smokeless incense is discreet to begin with, then reveals the wealth of an expertly blended composition of fresh, woody aromas.
Incense was first imported to Japan in 595, during the reign of Empress Suiko, shortly after Buddhism was first introduced into Japan.
Inspired by the use of incense in Buddhist rituals, courtiers began to burn incense in their homes to add perfume to the air, and their clothes and hair. Back then incense was mixed into balls, rather than the sticks we are familiar with today.
During the 12th century, Zen Buddhism arrived in Japan from China and a new way of appreciating incense grew among the Japanese aristocracy. A popular pastime was a ceremony in which guests took turns to enjoy different pieces of incense wood rather than the incense balls seen in previous centuries. Incense games, where guests compared different woods were also organized.
During the Muromachi period (1392–1573), kōdō, or “the way of incense” developed at the same time as the tea ceremony. Along with incense games, people also began to collect famous incense wood pieces, and the burning of expensive incense woods increased their value to make it a more special experience.
Around the beginning of Japan’s Edo period (1615–1868), kōdō grew in popularity again as a way of preserving the aristocracy’s cultural identity. Kōdō is still considered a classical Japanese art form even today and if you visit cities such as Kyoto you can find incense shops that have been around for hundreds of years.
Japanese incense is used in kōdō ceremonies to improve mental well-being. Some of the benefits believed to come from participating in kōdō include purifying the mind and body, sharpening the senses, and promoting alertness. These benefits were defined during the 16th century in what is known as the ten virtues of kōdō.
Outside of Japan, it’s also believed that burning incense can help to increase calm and focus, reduce stress and anxiety, and it can be used to complement a meditation or yoga practice. Burning incense in a quiet room allows for a moment of introspection and mindfulness.
In traditional Japanese culture, one of the many benefits and uses of incense is to reduce loneliness, with the incense serving as a companion when sitting alone. A kōdō ceremony can also be a social experience with games involved where participants pass around different fragranced incense and must guess what kind they are. This traditional practice is called monko, or incense listening, the purpose of which is to learn how to tell the many varieties of incense apart from each other.
In addition to incense ceremonies, incense is used in a range of other everyday activities in Japan, such as religious ceremonies, aromatherapy, or simply for relaxation.