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Kodo - Traditional Incense Ceremony

This 200-year-old incense shop takes you on a journey into the past

Steps away from the Imperial Palace in Kyoto, on a quiet side street, sits Yamada-matsu. The wooden shuttered shop has been in business for over 200 years, since the Edo period (1603-1867), specializing in fine Japanese incense. More than 1,400 years ago, the use of incense became popular as monks brought Buddhism from mainland Asia. It became a fad at court, and the best incense woods were imported. Yamada-matsu continues that tradition today.
Step through the curtained entryway and be enveloped by the warm yet subtle aromas of Japanese incense. Tucked away in a private room, experience the Japanese incense ceremony and try kumiko, a traditional game of “listening” to the incense, using attention and mindfulness to attempt to identify their scents. Walk away with incense of your own, and recreate this ancient ritual at home. The shop showcases various grades and varieties, from heated tablets to sticks that are burned. The staff is always ready to explain how to properly enjoy each type of incense.
Shimodachiuri-agaru, Muromachi-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

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