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Binchotan is a traditional charcoal of Japan. It dates to the Edo period, when during the Genroku era, a craftsman named Bitchû-ya Chôzaemon began to produce it in Tanabe, Wakayama.
The raw material is oak, specifically ubame oak. The fineness and high quality of binchô-tan are attributed to steaming at high temperatures (about 1000 degrees Celsius).
Although it is often thought that binchô-tan burns hot, it actually burns at a lower temperature than ordinary charcoal but for a longer period. Because it does not release smoke or other unpleasant odors, it is a favorite of unagi and yakitori cooks.