The elegant tradition of “Kodo”: an incense ceremony that will capture your imagination

“Kodo”, the peek of refinement has a long tradition in ancient Japan.

The art of burning precious, aromatic woods: incense without smoke, yet a pure embodiment of nature. 500+ year old tiny aromatic wood chips from the tropical rainforest are being used after the careful preparation of the incense cup. The preparation is also needed for each participant to cultivate the right frame of mind to focus on what the incense has to tell us. There are 5 nuances of scent: sweet, bitter, spicy, sour and salty.  The cup is being filled with white ash, a hollow on top of that heap is made and a red hot piece of charcoal is placed inside, ash is firmed over it in a conical mount that is than formed into 5 sections. Each section is decorated very carefully and precisely with 10 lines and a hole is formed on top, exposing the hot coal just a tiny bit. Than a small piece of mica plate is set on top on which the wood chips are being burned.

To me this is a most captivating way of interacting with Fragrance. What’s so special about Kodo is, it makes one experience scent in many different forms. The ancient traditions become alive, since it is all about “listening” to Kodo rather than using our nose alone. Ancient and precious aromatic woods being burned evoke wonderful emotions and images. This is communication of  a different form and takes off to far places we knew and now recognize, but hardly remember, since it is been so many lifetimes …..

The ceremony is a shared spiritual and intellectual experience, a collective affirmation of appreciating incense. A gathering of tranquil pleasures since Kodo means: “the culture of fragrance”.

I am facilitating ceremonies with a modern twist regularly, you may inquire about the next one on my website:

My Kodo ceremony is mostly coupled with a tea ceremony and a spontaneous flower arrangement by each participant during preparation for the experience.