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Uji: 恭子後藤 - Kyoko Goto and Uji’s smokeless Matcha tea Incense

Uji : 恭子後藤 - Kyoko Goto, l'encens sans-fumée au thé matcha d'Uji

An artisanal incense made with real Uji matcha

It is in the heart of Uji, in the Agata-jinja shrine, that Kyoko Goto makes a rather unique incense; handcrafted from real Uji matcha; the capital of green tea in Japan. This incense has the particularity of not being burned, but heated. As a result, it is not harmful and can be enjoyed at will, to find the spirit and scents of Japanese tea stalls without leaving home!

  Located southeast of Kyoto, the city of Uji is recognized worldwide for its tea production, and more particularly for a tea powder with remarkable virtues, the matcha green tea. While strolling in this charming city, one notices the importance of this tea, which makes the locals proud. It's simple, you can find almost anything there with a "matcha flavor": soba, udon, ice cream, beer and many others. However, it was not possible to find incense with that local scent until not that long ago
 
Kyoto Goto, at the Uji Agata-jinja shrine

Kyoko Goto has always been inspired by this city and the fervor the locals have for matcha. This is how she came up with the idea of ​​combining her passion and love for incense with the specialty of her adopted city. Kyoko was, in a way, on a mission to create Uji matcha incense so that visitors, amazed by the tea scent while they visit local stalls, could take this perfume home and perpetuate the memory of their excursion in the tea capital of the Japanese archipelago.
 
Uji's real matcha is the basis for the preparation
 
It is a long process to achieve the desired result

However, making this idea a reality was not so easy. The first difficulty was to recreate this particular perfume. Indeed, unlike classic incense which releases its fragrance when burnt; tea is an organic leaf and releases an unpleasant smoke when burned. This is why "matcha scent" incense is, in fact, only made of chemical perfumes. Kyoko-san was not going to give up so easily. She thought of the tea leaves whose scent is exhaled by hot water. So here was the solution: heat, but not burn. Heating has another advantage; it prevents toxic fumes, responsible for many diseases, from being released. With this natural smoke-free incense, you can enjoy a sweet Japanese fragrance without risk for the air in your home.


Each piece of incense is handmade
 
A wooden mold with iconic Japanese shapes

Thus, Kyoko Goto, after years of developing her idea, officially started her activity in 2018, offering a healthy incense, produced from Uji matcha tea. Like other Japanese artisans, Kyoko personalized her handmade incense using wooden molds of traditional and iconic Japanese shapes. You can find the daruma, the maneki neko, the Mount Fuji ... As well as less common forms, but all representative of the country like the turtle, the maple tree leaves and ginkos ... Without forgetting the symbols of Uji, dear to Kyoko-san's heart.

 

Sublime shapes from Japanese folklore  

The kōdō 香 道, the way of perfume, is an art in Japan

A little bit of history about incense in the land of the rising sun. The kōdō 香 道, literally the way of perfume, is considered an art in Japan. In the archipelago, the expression “listening to the scent” is used. This art was codified in the 15th century; inspired by a much older and once popular activity among the Japanese nobility. Already in the 11th century, the famous novel "Genji Monogatari" (“Genji’s sayings” in English) depicted life at the imperial court during the Heian period (8th century) and described perfume competitions, where the most talented noses of the palace were battling and trying to recognize each components of a scent. It is interesting to note that the last chapters of this book; a reference in Japanese literature, take place in the city of Uji.

 

The “Gin-yo” set, ideal to heat the matcha incense

Sharing her art with Uji travelers

All the stars were therefore aligned for the creation of this matcha incense. To accompany her incense, Kyoko Goto has also designed a support with a refined line, the Gin-yo set, in order to heat this delicate incense according to the rules of the art. And to share her art and passion, she also organizes incense-making experiences for the public at the Agata-jinja shrine in Uji. 

 

If you are interested in her creations, please visit our store. Kyoko Goto's incense is exclusive to UNJAPAN. If you want to experience making your own incense with Kyoko-san in Uji, please contact us at info@unjapan.jp

 

To learn more about Kyoko and her incense, you can find her interview below for UNJAPAN in a meditative atmosphere in the heart of the Agata temple in Uji.


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