Kikusumi charcoal made by sumiyakishi Kotani Yoshitaka in Nosé , Osaka
They are called “chrysanthemum charcoal” or kikusumi because the end grain pattern resembles the flower’s blossom. The best quality charcoal is almost perfectly round, tightly wrapped in a thin bark, with lines radiating from the center. It holds its shape as it burns, and eventually turns into ash that looks like a white flower.
The charcoal from Nosé (pronounced “no say”) and the surrounding area, located at the northern tip of Osaka prefecture, is known as “Ikeda charcoal.” This charcoal is renowned for its exceptional quality, especially among practitioners of the Japanese Way of Tea. With the oldest written record of this charcoal going back to the 15th century, the Ikeda brand has been around for more than half a millennium.