It is the mix between the highly renowned incense from Awaji Island (in Hyogo Prefecture between Kobe – yes, like the best beef in the world – and Shikoku Island, in Japan), and the high-quality matches from Harima (also near Kobe).
Fragrance matches? What is that?
How could these two mixes together? The concept is simple. So simple, that it could never occur to anyone. And that the brilliant part in this product. You strike the match and… voilà! The match itself IS the incense. Absolute genius.
The original idea of Hibi, that started in 2011, was to combine tradition and modern design, with a will to create a product that incarnates the history of matches. While the word “modern” could sound a bit inappropriate to describe some matches, when you think about the many centuries incense has been used in Japan, it gives a quite revolutionary twist to the idea.
And for good reason: if you have ever held an incense stick in your hands, you have probably also experienced how easy it is to break. Just one move, one finger pressing a tiny bit too hard, and it cracks. So, imagine putting some sulfur or any burnable stuff at the end of the incense, and striking it. Not so easy, is it? This is the main challenge Hibi had to face, and it took literally years (three, to be precise) to develop a product that could be lit like a match and used directly as a fragrance whilst burning.
Additional challenge: not using wood. Using any quantity of wood in the product would pollute the delicate aroma of the incense. So, each stick is exclusively made of pure incense powder pressed to form a stick.
Enough history, what about the product?
Hibi is a meeting point between simplicity and high technicity, between tradition and modern out-of-the-box thinking. Its elegant and minimalistic design makes it so simple, that you would probably not notice it. Or maybe, at the most, you would think “hey, Japanese matches, cool”. Even when you take out the incense-matches, they look like normal matches. But when you strike one of these… Then the magic happens.
The traditional art of Japanese incense is now sublimed with delicious fragrances such as lavender, ylang-ylang, or of course more Japanese scents like yuzu (citrus) and Japanese cypress. And the pleasure of lighting incense by striking it like a match will make the experience even more enjoyable.
It comes with a little non-flammable mat and each matchstick will last approximately 10 minutes: even the timing is thought out to provide just what you need to indulge yourself. All locally made in Japan, of course. The brand name Hibi means “days”, or by extension, “daily life”. Very appropriate, because once you tried it, you will probably need it on daily basis to relax and feel the Zen vibes.