さあさあ、江戸の香り世界へようこそ。The culture of Edo (the old name of Tokyo) was a playful and stylish one, born out of a marriage of
the elegant and the common, the coarse and the refined.
People enjoyed the four seasons, treasured their friends and neighbors, and lived lives brimming with vitality.
This series was created by master incense artisans in Tokyo to express the fragrant atmosphere of old Edo.
A single thin column of smoke beckons you to the stylish, modernist world that Edo represents.
We invite you to bask in the fragrant world of Edo.
Incense-smelling ceremonies were the practice of court nobles, feudal lords and other wealthy people.
Among commoners as well, while they may have lacked access to genuine fragrant woods, there was much fascination with them, and they are frequently featured in works of Kabuki and Joruri theater.
The word kyara, meaning aloeswood, even became a general term for “something wonderful.”
Hair wax that evokes the scent of aloeswood was extremely popular as well.
Experience the fragrance, and understand why it was the most highly prized of scents.
The enchanting peony enjoyed enormous popularity in Edo. Its bewitching form is reminiscent of a beautiful geisha, and gazing upon a peony you can almost hear the music and see the dances of the geisha quarter.
This was an exclusive world for the privileged few, and it is said that customers’ time spent in teahouses was measured by sticks of incense. The fragrance of the peony, “queen of the flowers” evokes this beautiful and evanescent world.
【桜の花衣/SAKURA NO HANAGOROMO】
江戸時代に本格化する花見文化。今もなおその美しさを受け継ぐ染井吉野は幕末に江戸の郊外 “染井村” から出た園芸種。江戸の人々にとって、花見は出会いの場であり、自分をみせるパフォーマンスの場。「花衣」というおそろいの衣装をまとい、春を喜び歌い踊ることもあったとか。
The custom of cherry blossom viewing took hold during the Edo Period.
The somei-yoshino cherry tree, seen in groves throughout Japan today, was originally an ornamental garden variety raised in the village of Somei near Edo. Cherry blossom viewings were also an opportunity for Edo denizens to meet one another, present themselves, and perform : matching fancy kimonos were worn for the occasion, and people sang and danced to celebrate the coming of spring.
The captivating scent of cherry blossoms heralds spring’s arrival.
The gardeners of Komagome and Sugamo near Edo are said to have sparked the chrysanthemum craze of the Edo era.
Fond of the fancy and spectacular, Edo dwellers loved the beautiful and fragrant flowers, which were displayed or fashioned into various shapes. Chrysanthemums were believed since ancient times to prolong life, and during the Edo Period the Chrysanthemum Festival became a yearly event where people drank chrysanthemum sake infused with medicinal blossoms. The smooth, refreshing scent of chrysanthemum will delight you as it did the denizens of old Edo.
It is traditionally believed that the kami (deities) dwell in evergreen trees. The word matsu means both “pine” and “to wait” (for the deity to descend), and the pine is part of the felicitous trio of pine, bamboo and plum tree, and the auspicious pairing of crane and pine. Pine decorations are displayed at New Year’s, and a monumental pine tree is painted on the backdrop of the Noh stage – all expressing the pine’s association with luck and longevity. In ukiyo-e woodcuts, boldly rendered pines standing in the midst of Edo-era people bustling to and fro are a classic motif. Savor the refreshing scent of pine, the tree that guards the travelers’ road and watches over their safe return.
【湯屋の雫/YUYA NO SHIZUKU】
In the Edo Period (1603-1868) people didn’t have baths at home, and public bathhouses were built to meet the need. There were about 600 in Edo. At first they were steam baths, then large bathtubs were developed. As all were naked and people comingled without regard for age, gender, or rank, the bathhouse was an egalitarian place. Apparently another popular item was a scented lotion made with floral essences distilled using a still known as a ranbiki.
This fragrance has the warmth and friendly glow of the moment you step out of the bath.