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Koh-do ceremony

During the ceremony the participants enjoy listening (聞く) to subtle differences in fragrances of rare natural woods, called jinko (沈香) (Aquilaria agallocha). The small piece of wood is slightly warmed in a cup containing a piece of hot charcoal and ashes to better release the whole odorous nuances. The participants "listen" to the odour with only three inspirations. There is a thousand of kumiko asobi  (組香遊び) varying with the number of woods and depending on the task to perform and the context, such as an association with a short poem (waka (和歌)).

The ceremony often starts with the presentation of the odours to be memorized. Then, the participants successively "listen" to the other samples trying to distinguish and categorize them according to the rules of the chosen kumiko asobi. The task is difficult because the odours are similar, the sensations are evanescent and the delay between the odour presentations can attain several minutes. Thus, it is very difficult to give a good answer, but the ultimate goal of the ceremony is to enjoy the fragrance and the context of the ceremony. 

The conditions of the ceremony are codified: no body perfume, silence, cooperative attitude to the ceremony organization. The participants appreciate the beauty of the decorations of the room and the art and knowledge of the master of ceremony.