Japanese sake now comes in incense form for Buddhist rituals
Apr. 6 Oona McGee, SoraNews24
In Japan, incense is often used to help send up prayers to deceased relatives, both at the site of their grave and at the butsudan Buddhist altar found inside homes, and is often accompanied by offerings of food and other small tokens signifying things that deceased loved ones used to enjoy while they were alive.
For Tokyo-based candle and incense maker Kameyama, the senko incense used in these rituals is a perfect way to send up offerings of favorite food and drink to loved ones in the afterlife at the same time. So far, they’ve catered to the needs of past candy lovers, curry enthusiasts and even fans of cute character Rilakkuma, with special incense sticks specifically designed to be used while paying respects to deceased ancestors.
Now the incense specialists are back again, this time with a new scent that promises to be even more popular than any of their past releases, as this one comes with the aroma of Japanese sake. And rather than being a collaboration with a high-end sake brewery, the new incense aims to appeal to the masses, by using one of the country’s most well-known and widely available brands: One Cup Ozeki.
If you’ve ever wandered into a supermarket or convenience store in Japan, looking to pick up a cheap, one-person serving of sake to help you kick back and unwind, you’ve probably tried this particular brand, which offers exactly what its name suggests: one cup of Japanese rice wine.
First introduced to the market as an alternative to bottled sake back in 1964, One Cup Ozeki is a surprisingly well-balanced tipple that’s perfect for train rides, and outdoor events like festivals and picnics, due to its convenient size and built-in glass cup.
Given its immense popularity, One Cup Ozeki is a brand that many have turned to on a number of occasions, whether at home or out enjoying happy events with family and friends. So it makes sense that dearly departed sake lovers and their families would appreciate the sentiment behind this new sake-scented incense.
This particular incense blend is said to have a faint scent of sake, which can be used every day so that those in the afterlife can enjoy a daily dose of their favourite drink. While it’s specifically designed to pay homage to one’s ancestors, those in the living world can reap the benefits of using the new product as well, given that sake has a history of being used to purify homes, and the lighting of incense can be likened to the custom of creating sparks with a flint stone, which is used to extinguish bad luck when a guest or family member steps out of the family home.
The One Cup Ozeki incense sticks can be purchased at incense stores around the country and online for 734 yen.