Kodo is one of the major arts in Japanese culture. Though it may not be as widely known around the world as the tea ceremony or flower arrangement, it is just as important in their culture. In fact, according to tradition, any woman of good birth should learn kodo. In simple English, kodo is all about fragrant wood or incense. Though this art may not be as popular as the other two mentioned above, we can see similarities in the popular art called aromatherapy today.
So what is kodo all about? It is also called The Way of Incense and focuses on the use and appreciation of incense. For the uninformed, all incense might seem the same but there are, in fact, different kinds of incense. The important thing about this art is that it involves more than the art of smell. In fact, the Japanese place more importance in “listening” to the incense – that is, opening up your other senses as you inhale the scents of the incense.
According to tradition, the art of kodo has 10 physical and psychological benefits. These are:
1. Sharpens the senses
2. Purifies the mind and body
3. Removes mental or spiritual “pollutants” (kegare)
4. Promotes alertness
5. Heals feelings of loneliness
6. Creates a feeling of harmony even under stress
7. Even in abundance, is not overwhelming
8. Satisfies, even in small quantities
9. Does not decay even over centuries
10. Does no harm even if used every day