Incense has been an important element of Japan’s way of life and culture for centuries. Ichimiya-ku in Awaji Island, situated in a fan shaped valley over flat land, produces 70 percent of all incense made in Japan.
The history of Ichimiya ku’s incense industry began in the mid-19th century, a period during which the local people had been making a living as fishermen. Unfortunately, they couldn’t go out to sea during winter because of the strong northwestern wind. As such, the fishermen had been looking to utilize abundant dead branches of trees to create a winter industry. One day, villager Tatsuzo Tanaka happened to come across incense making in Sakai, south of Osaka. He was a visionary who saw the future for his town and brought the incense art form home.
They purchased pine needle resources from the neighboring province (current Tokushima prefecture) and began production. As Awaji provided geographically favorable conditions, including good transportation and a generous climate, the industry soon flourished. And approximately 60% of the current population became engaged in the many aspects of incense making.
Incense has a long history, closely imbedded with Buddhism. Its origin said to be in the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan, after which it was brought to India for further development. The birth of Buddhism around the latter half of the 5th century BC had a great impact on incense making, as it became a part of the religious practice, leading to it finally arriving in Japan.
Incense Culture Develop By Aristocrats
When first introduced, incense was only associated with Buddhist prayer. However, starting in the Heian Period (A.D. 794-1192), Japanese nobles adopted it as a sign of affluence or attractiveness. This gave rise to the culture of secular Japanese incense.
The form of incense at this time was mainly balls of powdered ingredients that were pressed together. This new way of using fragrance was called soradaki (empty burning). Blending their own recipes, people would scent their room, clothes, hair, and parchment (among other things) as a way of making themselves more appealing. It is not unlike current-day scented candles or perfume.
Whether it be in the home or in fashion, incense already had a firm place in expression and enrichment of the daily lives of those living more than 1000 years ago. Even to this day, the power of incense remains.
Warriors as Incense Connoisseurs
Incense culture evolved with the transition from the Heian period, the age of Court-centered government, to the Kamakura period (A.D. 1185-1333), the time of Samurai government. In the old era, it had mostly been the nobles who used a type of blended incense called nerikoh, but in the new period, the samurai warriors began to burn the incense wood itself.
It is said that samurai engaged in battle wearing helmets scented with incense, likely in order to calm and focus them while fighting. In addition, even after decapitation (if they happened to lose), fragrance from the helmet was indicative of a certain status and pride.
What Is “Ko Juttoku”?
Our brand “Juttoku.” was created with the goal of connecting contemporary lifestyles with “Ko Juttoku” – 10 mottos and effects of incense that have been passed down over thousands of years.
Ko Juttoku (10 mottos of incence)
- Heighten sensitivity
- Purify body and mind
- Take away impurity
- Rouse us from our sleep
- Make us feel at ease in serenity
- Soothe our heart any time
- Has an unobtrusive scent
- Gives off enough fragrance even in small amounts
- Can be stored for a long time
- Safe for daily use
Let your mind and soul unwind and relax with our products
Juttoku’s INKO is a pressed incense that gives off a light fragrance even without burning. Best suited for indoor use, you can enjoy these light aromas without the anxiety of having an open flame by simply placing them in places such as your foyer or bedroom. Once the initial fragrance disappears, you can then get continued use out of the INKO as burned incense or as an aroma diffuser by dripping your favorite essential oil directly onto it.
Some of our INKO are designed to look like Japanese sweets to bring inspiration from each of the four seasons, while others are designed as various Japanese good luck charms with the hope of bringing good will and prosperity. Our wish is that as the aroma fills your senses, so will the property infused in the incense by its shape. We are now showing red heart shaped incense, which can be purchased individually or in a box of 3, a perfect gift.
INKO gives the fragrance just by placing it anywhere you like. The fragrance lasts for 1 – 2 months.
It can also be used as a diffuser after the fragrance weakens, by putting on a few drops of any essential oil. You may also light fire and enjoy it just like regular incense sticks.
Additionally we have a selection of regular stick incense with: Renrin, Kouzuki, Full Moon, New Moon,
Instructions and directions for use:
- Please be careful when handling fire
- Please use a non-flammable incense stand
- Make sure to keep our of children’s reach
- Please do not use this for anything other than its original use
- To keep its quality, avoid high temperatures and humidity for storage
May this graceful scent enrich your life with nature’s blessing’s.