Warosoku (Japanese candle) (和蝋燭)

Warosoku is a kind of candle which is a lighting device.

It is made by heating mokuro (Japan tallow) extracted from sumac nuts to melt, manually pouring it around a wick made of washi Japanese paper or rush, and standing the product to dry. The section of a finished warosoku shows an annual ring-like pattern.

Candles made from 100 percent sumac wax are regarded as the highest in quality.

It is said that the light of warosoku is brighter than that of ordinary candles, and its burning time is longer. Some prefer the changes in the way warosoku burns, with flaring varied by the wick condition. "The Chemical History of a Candle" by Michael FARADAY recounts an episode of FARADAY delivering a lecture amazedly on the ventilation system of warosoku wicks.

Because of its intricate manufacturing process, warosoku is more expensive than western candles and usually sold at butsugu ({Buddhist altar fittings}) stores. However, in western Japan, it is also available at supermarkets and other stores. In western Japan where kinpaku butsudans (Buddhist altar heavily lacquered using gold-leaf or gold lacquering) are common, warosoku is preferred because the carbon content in its smoke is lower than that of western candles and therefore warosoku is less likely to stain the gold leaf.


Omi warosoku (Japanese candle made in Omi, one of the Traditional Crafts of Shiga prefecture)

Echizen warosoku (Japanese candle made in Echizen, one of the Local Handicrafts of Fukui prefecture)

Nanao warosoku (Japanese candle made in Nanao)

Sanshu Okazaki warosoku (Japanese candle made in Sanshu Okazaki)