Light the tip of the incense then blow out the flame so that it produces a gentle wisp of smoke. It is best to pair Japanese incense sticks with an incense holder and plate or an incense burner, such as a kōro half-filled with white ash, to catch the burned incense and protect underlying surfaces. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
|Burning time||15 minutes|
Finest Origin - Highest Grade
A family business with a distinguished 200 year history, Yamada-Matsu began as a pharmacy in the Edo period (1603-1868) initially supplying raw incense materials to local Buddhist temples before developing their own original recipes – which are still used to manufacture their highly acclaimed natural incenses today. Their traditional incenses are made of some of the finest varieties of agarwood and sandalwood, as well as medicinal herbs and extracts. Located in Kyoto, the birthplace of Japanese incense culture, Yamada-Matsu strives to carry on this tradition that dates back to the Heian period (794-1185) and disseminate it to the wider world.
White or Indian Sandalwood, known in Japanese as byakudan, has been treasured for centuries around the world for its soothing fragrance. Sandalwood, together with agarwood, form the basis of traditional Japanese incense. The evergreen tree is native across southeast Asia, particularly in India, and is used in Ayuverdic as well as Chinese medicine to treat a variety of ailments. Incense is made using the aromatic heartwood, which can take more than 60 years to cultivate. The dense, durable core is impervious to insects, hence it is regarded as a protective tree whose scent can drive away evil spirits, and so was used in the building of temples and religious statues from India to Japan, besides being an effective mosquito repellant. Sandalwood from Mysore in the South of India is particularly prized for its aroma and in Japanese is referred to as rōzan (老山 “old mountain”) sandalwood.
While incense burning has been practiced in Japan since the 6th century with the arrival of Buddhism from China, it wasn’t until the 16th century that incense sticks or senkō became more widespread, and today are the most typical style of incense in Japan. Across Asia, stick incense was often used to measure time, particularly during meditation, and continues to feature in religious rituals besides clearing the air before tea ceremonies. Senkō sticks are made of dried, powdered incense wood and other fragrant extracts mixed with a binding agent called makkō: a clay-like paste made from tree bark. Since Japanese incense sticks do not have a bamboo core they burn more gently and release a delicate scent with very little smoke, making them ideal for perfuming the home.