Japanese Incense is some of the finest in the world. With good incense only the purest ingredients are used, in order to honor the traditionally sacred spaces they are used in, such as Buddhist temples and family alters. Other kinds of incense may have low quality ingredients incorporated into them, which are used as inexpensive fillers or binders. This kind of incense can create a smoky, harsh tone with an unpleasant smell, and may actually be dangerous to breathe in. Many of our customers have told us that their dogs and cats will run out of the room when they light cheap incense, but not with Japanese incense!
Japanese Incense can be broken down into two different types; incense whose main ingredient is Sandalwood, and incense whose main ingredient is Aloeswood. Sandalwood is a wonderful scent that is used as the base in many kinds of Daily Joss Sticks, incense which is inexpensive and can be burned economically on a daily basis. Aloeswood is a more expensive, harder-to-find ingredient that comes from petrified wood. Incense that uses Aloeswood as a base will often cost a lot more than the Sandalwood varieties, and is thus often reserved for special occasions, rather than lighting it every day. Because Aloeswood comes from petrified wood, the quality and cost varies greatly, along with the complexity of smell. In Japan, pieces of Aloeswood are often sold at auction, sometimes commanding hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the piece! Burning Aloeswood for your incense pleasure is like drinking a very fine, aged wine.
Here at Old Japan we take great pleasure and pride in offering Shoyeido Incense, and Nippon Kodo Incense, traditional companies that have both been in business for over 300 years. Our Shoyeido offering ranges from their wonderful inexpensive Daily Joss Sticks, and goes up through their better incense with Aloeswood, packaged in exquisite wooden boxes. For our Nippon Kodo incense we carry only their finer quality incense, with a good selection of their better Aloeswood.
If you are interested in Japanese incense, stop by our store and we will be happy to talk to you and light some samples for your “listening” pleasure. In Japan, “listening to incense” and trying to guess the fragrance is a pastime that goes back to the time of Genji, over a thousand years.
Please click on the photo below to see our incense selection.
Ten Virtues of Koh (Incense)
- It brings communication with the transcendent.
- It refreshes mind and body.
- It removes impurity.
- It brings alertness.
- It is a companion in solitude.
- In the midst of busy affairs, it brings a moment of peace.
- When it is plentiful, one never tires of it.
- When there is little, still one is satisfied.
- Age does not change its efficacy.
- Used everyday, it does not harm.