The oldest record of incense in Japan can be found in The Nihon Shoki (日本書紀) where it states that aromatic wood drifted onto Awaji Island. Located in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, Awaji Island has preserved this tradition of incense and, for hundreds of years, continued to rethink it. The latest innovation is, poetically, a return to roots: leaf-shaped paper that carefully burns like a dried leaf.

HA KO: leaf-shaped paper incense that burns like a leaf, but doesn’t crumble like one

HA KO, a combination of the words ha (葉; leaf) and ko (香; incense) is produced by Kunjudo, a 120-year old maker of incense founded in 1893 on Awaji Island. Throughout their history, they’ve created stable, high-quality incense by working with fragrance master and artisans.

The elegant HAKO incense can be as used as potpourri, or burned like traditional incense. Put out on display, the leaves emit a subtle aroma that lasts for roughly 3 months. To burn, place on a non-flammable plate. Light the leaf, extinguish the flame and then enjoy for 5 – 7 minutes. The leaves come in different aromas and can be distinguished by their shape. Pro tip: send a leaf in a letter as a gift!

They’re available as a 5-piece box set and a 6-piece box set that comes with a plate.