Incense sticks お香 - Delicate Beauties

 Delicate Beauties

They say size doesn’t matter, and in the case of many Japanese goods, they’recorrect. Whether they’re thoughtful, heart-warming, delicate or just small but perfectly formed, there’s a mountain of pocket-sized goods in Japan that make ideal souvenirs. In this column, we aim to showcase some of them.

「山椒は小粒でもぴりりと辛い」と言いますが、小さくても優れもの、気の利いたもの、心がほっこりするもの、繊細なデザインのものなどが、日本には山ほどあります。お土産やプレゼントにも最適。そんな日本の雑貨を紹介します。

Incense sticks  お香 

 ◆◇◆◇◆ Incense sticks  ◆◇◆◇◆ 

Back when I was a child, it was my grandmother’s job to light incense sticks everyday at our household altar. When Buddhism arrived in Japan from China, it’s said incense sticks arrived with it. At first, they apparently held a strong religious association, but nobles during the later Heian period (794-1185) apparently used them more for decorative purposes.

These days, in everyday life, people use incense sticks as air fresheners, helping them to relax, mask cooking odours, get rid of that musty feeling after days of rain, or just make the house smell nice for guests. There are many varieties, including those made using naturally fragrant trees, such as aloewood, agarwood and sandalwood, as well as those using other natural ingredients. Try to choose ones that match your mood or the room/s you’re using them in. If you can, grab a matching incense plate or holder at the same time.

 

 ◆◇◆◇◆ お香 ◆◇◆◇◆ 

子供の頃、家の仏壇に毎日お線香をあげるのは祖母の役目でした。日本に唐から仏教が伝わった時、香木が一緒に入ってきたと言われています。最初は宗教的な意味合いが強かったようですが、平安貴族の間では、おしゃれやたしなみとして使われたようです。

現在の暮らしの中では室内香として、リラックスしたい時、料理の後の臭い消し、雨が続いて部屋に湿気がこもった時に、来客 時にとお香を焚きます。伽羅、沈香、白檀などの天然香木や自然由来の原料が調合されて、多くの種類があります。その時の気分やインテリアに合わせて香りを選びましょう。香皿や香立ても併せて手に入れるといいですね。