In Japan aloeswood is seen as a sacred and important wood. It is one of the most distinguished ingredients of some Japanese incense. During the Kamakura period (1185-1333) the Japanese began using various raw woods such as aloeswood in the making of incense. Some incense was used in a more recreational way while others were used in the most important of religious ceremonies. This led to a classification system for grading the qualities of aloeswood. The very finest quality aloeswood is referred to as Kyara. Good quality aloeswood fetches very high prices and this is reflected in the prices of the highest quality aloeswood incenses.
Aloeswood is also an important wood in the Middle East and in many places is burned daily to accompany prayer. It is also known as agarwood, eaglewood, oud or gaharu.
The wood itself has no significant aroma. Aloeswood is obtained from the evergreen daphne genus tree. When a fungus infects the tree a resin begins to form. When the trees dies this resin continues to harden and mature. This resin imbued wood is then collected for incense and burning purposes.
In Japan it is considered a great honour to receive a gift of fine aloeswood or Kyara.