When I went to the Iya Valley, I visited Chiori. While I was there they put us through an incense game.
We all sat around in a big circle. The facilitator put a burning piece of incense in a box with holes in it and passed it around. We each sniffed it. He did that four times with different incense.
Then he took one of the four scents and passed it around. We wrote down which one we thought it was. After sniffing all four at random, we discovered that one or two people could discern the different scents.
Our tour guide Steve Biemel told us a likely scenario of how incense found its way to Japan. He said something like this; that the first time a fragrant piece of driftwood washed up on the shores of Japan, the people did what they usually did, threw it in the fire. When they noticed the beautiful fragrance coming from it, they fished it out and brought it to the ruler. Soon after that Japanese traveled to find out more about incense and now, Japanese incense is prized because it has less additives.
I bought some because my husband is very sensitive to fragrances; rather, he is probably mostly sensitive to the additives. He can tolerate Japanese incense. I love to light some after cooking fish or broccoli or just because it smells so beautiful.
They give you these little incense holders with the incense.
I bought this ceramic one that has a tree on it. I wish I could put the fragrance on line for you to smell. Maybe someday. It’s on my fingers now and keyboard. 😄