19 Oct 2016 in Just Relax
The incense ceremony, Koh-Do, is a traditional art with codes, rituals and manners. Experience the ceremony as an insider and awaken your senses at HOSHINOYA Kyoto.
The art of incense, “Koh-Do” emerged in Japan in Asuka period, simultaneously as Buddhism. Koh-Do truly became a cultural practice at the end of the 15th century, as well as sadô – the traditional tea ceremony – and kâdô – known as floral arrangements.
The incense ceremony
Actually, it remains two major schools for the incense ceremony. The first one – Oie-ryu school – emphasizes the playful aspect of Koh-Do. The second one is Shino-ryu school, which essentially focuses on formality and manners. HOSHINOYA Kyoto offers every morning an incense ceremony to introduce guests to the Shino-Ryu ritual. Driven by a hospitable woman with soft voice and know-how in listening incense, you will be delicately introduced to this Japanese cultural art.
A codified ceremony
You will kneel on the tatami, and start with a discovery of different tools used in Koh-Do. Then you will be proposed to smell the various types of wood – kohboku, incense wood – that you could deposit on a small incense holder, like Cinnamon tree, Sandalwood, Cedar, Cypress…
The first step involves burying incandescent coal in the ash of the censer set in front of you. Then you will use the tools to form a mound above the coal and trace regular lines in the ash by turning the pot in a specific direction. To finally enjoy the incense, you will have to hold the censer in one hand and cover part of its surface with the other hand to bring the smells to your nostrils and enjoy the delicate perfume of incense. A very poetic experience.