Do you enjoy fragrance in your life?
It is believed that incense was first used in Japan during the Asuka Period, around the time of the arrival of Buddhism.
Along with various Buddhist rituals, incense was introduced from mainland China.
In the Nara period (710-794), incense was considered to have strong religious connotations, as it was used to purify the presence of the Buddha and to ward off evil spirits.
In the Nara period (710-794), there was a famous monk named Ganjin（鑑真）. He is said to have brought many fragrant medicines to Japan along with Buddhist precepts, and also introduced the art of incense blending.
Also, from this time, aristocrats began to enjoy fragrance not only in incense for Buddha, but also in their daily lives.
During the Heian period (794-1185), “Takimono（薫物）,” a complex kneading of fragrances and the enjoyment of fragrance, came to be practiced in the lives of the nobility. The nobles enjoyed transferring the fragrance of Takimono, which they had prepared themselves, to their rooms and clothing.
At this time, incense is often mentioned in literature such as “Makura-no-Soushi” and “Genji-Monogatari”.
In the Kamakura period (1185-1333), when samurai warriors rose to power and Zen Buddhism spread, the spirituality of facing the fragrant wood itself came to be respected. It was during this period that the “bunkou（聞香）” or “monkou（聞香）” method of appreciating the fragrance of fragrant woods in a delicate manner was established.
Then, during the Muromachi period (1333-1573), the art of incense, like the tea ceremony and flower arrangement, became a part of the culture.
In the Edo period (1603-1867), the culture of fragrance spread to the townspeople.
The technology of incense production was introduced from China around this time, and the use of incense sticks（線香） spread among the common people.
Shoeido（松栄堂） is a long-established incense shop in Kyoto.
We have been making incense since our establishment in Kyoto about 300 years ago.
Most of the ingredients of incense are natural fragrances, and they are brought from all over the world, mainly from China, India, and Southeast Asia.
They say that traditional handmade techniques are utilized, even down to the final sealing stage, with the utmost care and attention to detail.
The Hana-Sekai series（花世界シリーズ） blends the essence of fresh flowers and trees into a familiar fragrance.
Rose has been loved by many people since ancient times and is considered a symbol of love. It is also a beautiful floral fragrance with calming and soothing properties.
Jasmine has a gorgeous, sweet floral scent. It also has a tropical, exotic flavor. It is very expensive because only a small amount of essential oil can be obtained from many flowers.
Sandalwood is burned in Buddhist and Hindu temples in Asia, and was used as a medicinal herb in Ayurveda, which originated in ancient India.
Why don’t you enjoy incense as an accompaniment to relaxing and cherishing your time alone?
Author: Wakako Yamaoto
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