incense blending

The 400-Year-Old Japanese Secret Behind Nippon Kodo’s World-Class Incense!


For over 400 years, Nippon Kodo has championed the ancient art of incense making. Deeply rooted in Japanese culture, this esteemed company safeguards traditions from the Tensho era. In Japan, people know incense as “Koh.” It’s played many roles: from religious ceremonies to aristocratic pastimes, even preparing samurai warriors for battle. Nippon Kodo doesn’t just preserve these traditions. They innovate. They blend age-old wisdom with modern tastes, crafting high-quality incense for a global audience. In this review, we’ll dive into Nippon Kodo’s rich history, product range, and steadfast commitments. Whether you’re a fragrance aficionado or a curious newcomer, we aim to show you why Nippon Kodo incense stands out.

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Table of Contents

Product Analysis

Range of Products

Nippon Kodo’s portfolio is a treasure trove of incense varieties, each designed to cater to specific moods, settings, and cultural nuances. They offer traditional incense lines that draw directly from ancient Japanese recipes, capturing the essence of centuries-old craftsmanship. For the modern consumer, they have contemporary lines that infuse new-age fragrances while retaining the quality that Nippon Kodo is renowned for. But they don’t stop there. Specialty lines are also available, featuring exotic blends and limited-edition collections that are often seasonal or thematic. These cater to collectors and enthusiasts who seek something extraordinary. To complement the incense, Nippon Kodo also provides a selection of beautifully crafted incense holders and accessories. These pieces add an extra layer of elegance, turning the simple act of burning incense into a complete sensory experience.

Quality and Uniqueness

Quality is the cornerstone of Nippon Kodo’s brand. They go to great lengths to source only the finest natural aromatic materials from around the globe. Whether it’s rare woods from Southeast Asia or fragrant herbs from the Mediterranean, each ingredient is chosen with meticulous care. These high-quality materials serve as the canvas upon which Nippon Kodo’s craftsmen work their magic. With senses honed over years, if not decades, these artisans interpret and evolve time-honored recipes. They blend the old with the new, creating incense sticks that are not just fragrant but transformative. Each stick promises a unique sensory journey, enveloping you in a cloud of aroma that can calm, invigorate, or even transport you to a different time and place.

Nippon Kodo incense

Packaging and Presentation

Nippon Kodo places a high premium on first impressions, and this is evident in their packaging. Each box is a work of art in itself, combining sleek design aesthetics with environmental responsibility. The packaging is often made from recycled or sustainably sourced materials, reflecting the company’s commitment to eco-friendliness. But it’s not just about protection; it’s about presentation. The design often incorporates elements of Japanese culture, whether it’s traditional motifs, calligraphy, or even short poems. This offers consumers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Japanese heritage, making the unboxing experience almost as rewarding as the product itself.

Price Points

While Nippon Kodo’s incense products may come with a higher price tag compared to market averages, the cost is a reflection of the exceptional quality you receive. Each incense stick is a result of painstaking craftsmanship and premium materials, factors that contribute to a longer burn time and a more refined fragrance profile. In essence, when you invest in Nippon Kodo, you’re not just buying incense; you’re investing in an experience. The aroma, the burn time, and even the afterglow are noticeably superior, making each penny spent a worthwhile investment in quality and tradition.

Kyara Taikan, Kyara Kongo & Jinkoh Juzan

Each of these fragrances offers a unique take on premium aloeswood incense. Kyara Kongo delivers a deep, rich, and elegant aroma, while Kyara Taikan provides a more refined and complex scent. Jinkoh Juzan, on the other hand, sets itself apart with a blend of Jinkoh aloeswood, sandalwood, and natural herbal scents. This combination results in a brisk, deeply resonant aroma that’s warm, woody, and slightly sweet. Like its counterparts, Jinkoh Juzan also has a calming and relaxing effect, filling the room with a subtle yet powerful fragrance when lit. All three are luxurious choices, perfect for special occasions and popular for enhancing meditation and yoga sessions. So, whether you’re drawn to the deep richness of Kyara Kongo, the refined complexity of Kyara Taikan, or the woody warmth of Jinkoh Juzan, you’re guaranteed an incense that’s both beautiful and fragrant.

Mainichi Byakudan

Mainichi Byakudan blends high-quality Indian sandalwood with Chinese herbal medicines to create its sandalwood incense. The scent offers both refreshing coolness and a mysteriously balmy warmth. Described as sweet, woody, and slightly musky, the fragrance calms and relaxes. Light it, and a subtle yet powerful aroma fills the air. People often choose Mainichi Byakudan for daily use. It’s also great for meditation and yoga. Looking for soothing, relaxing incense? Mainichi Byakudan is a top pick.


The OEDO-KOH incense series is a collection of six floral incenses that were created by master incense artisans in Tokyo to express the fragrant atmosphere of old Edo. Each incense is inspired by a different scene from the Edo period, and the scents are designed to evoke a sense of nostalgia and romance.

The six incenses in the series are:

The OEDO-KOH incense series is a beautiful and unique collection of incense that is sure to transport you back in time to the Edo period. If you are looking for an incense that is both fragrant and evocative, the OEDO-KOH series is a great option.


The Hana-no-Hana incense is a floral incense that was created in 1911 by Yujiro Kito, a gifted incense master in the Japan’s Meiji Era. It is a blend of Japanese incense-making techniques with the Western perfume culture.

The Hana-no-Hana incense is available in three scents: Rose, Lily, and Violet. Each scent is carefully blended to create a unique and fragrant experience. They are made with high-quality ingredients and are known for their long-lasting fragrance. It is a popular choice for both everyday use and special occasions.

The Hana-no-Hana incense is made with high-quality ingredients and is known for its long-lasting fragrance. It is a popular choice for both everyday use and special occasions.


Nippon Kodo’s Kayuragi series offers a modern twist on the ancient art of incense, available in both stick and cone forms to suit your preference. Infused with a variety of captivating fragrances, from floral to fruity, this line is designed to appeal to contemporary sensibilities. Unlike traditional incense sticks, Kayuragi comes in a visually striking, matchstick-style box that adds a touch of elegance to any setting. Whether you choose the sticks or the cones, lighting one fills the air with a rich, long-lasting aroma that both soothes and invigorates. Perfect for creating a relaxing atmosphere or enhancing your meditation and yoga practices, Kayuragi by Nippon Kodo blends the best of old and new, offering a sensory experience that’s as visually pleasing as it is aromatic.

Nippon Kodo incense

Kayugari comes in the following fragrances:

  1. Aloeswood: A luxurious, complex aroma that brings a sense of depth and tradition, often associated with special ceremonies or moments of reflection.
  2. Sandalwood: A warm, earthy scent that promotes a calm and meditative atmosphere, ideal for mindfulness practices.
  3. Pomegranate: A vibrant, slightly tart aroma that energizes the room and invigorates the senses, perfect for creative endeavors.
  4. Jasmine: A floral, uplifting fragrance that can elevate your mood and fill your space with a sense of springtime freshness.
  5. White Peach: A soft, fruity aroma that captures the sweetness and juiciness of a ripe peach, adding a touch of summertime to any room.
  6. Rose: A timeless, romantic scent that encapsulates the essence of a blooming rose garden, ideal for intimate settings.
  7. Green Tea: A refreshing, herbal aroma that clears the mind and offers a moment of zen-like tranquility.
  8. Mikan Orange: A citrusy, zesty scent that brings a burst of sunshine and positivity, great for lifting spirits.
  9. Cherry Blossom: A light, floral fragrance that embodies the ephemeral beauty of cherry blossom season, adding a touch of spring to your space.
  10. Japanese Cypress: A woody, slightly spicy aroma that evokes the serenity of a Japanese forest, perfect for relaxation and meditation.
  11. Ginger: A warm, spicy scent that stimulates the senses and adds a touch of exotic flair to any room.
  12. Plum: A sweet, slightly tart aroma that captures the essence of plum blossoms, offering a unique floral experience.
  13. Wisteria: A delicate, sweet fragrance that transports you to a garden filled with blooming wisteria vines, ideal for moments of quiet contemplation.
  14. Osmanthus: A fruity-floral aroma that’s both exotic and comforting, perfect for creating a cozy atmosphere.
  15. Narcissus: A rich, intoxicating floral scent that fills the room with the essence of blooming narcissus, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication.


Nippon Kodo’s Scentsual series is a celebration of natural simplicity and understated elegance. Crafted with plant-based ingredients, this line of incense offers a cleaner, more eco-friendly way to enjoy life’s aromatic pleasures. The Scentsual series features a wide range of fragrances, each designed to evoke a specific mood or setting, from calming lavender to invigorating citrus. Packaged in minimalist, eco-conscious boxes, these incense sticks or cones make a stylish yet unobtrusive addition to any room. When lit, they release a subtle, long-lasting aroma that enhances your space without overwhelming it. Whether you’re looking to create a serene meditation environment or simply want to unwind after a long day, the Scentsual series offers a natural, sophisticated option for scenting your life.

scentsual nippon kodo

Scentsual comes in the following fragrances:

  1. Sparkling Gold Yuzu: A citrusy, effervescent aroma that captures the zesty brightness of yuzu fruit, perfect for invigorating your senses and uplifting your mood.
  2. Bitter Pink Ginger: A spicy, slightly tangy scent that offers a stimulating and exotic atmosphere, ideal for energizing your space.
  3. Calm Hinoki Mint: A soothing blend of Hinoki wood and mint that creates a tranquil, refreshing environment, perfect for relaxation or meditation.
  4. Fresh Green Tea: A clean, herbal aroma that evokes the calming essence of a freshly brewed cup of green tea, ideal for moments of mindfulness.
  5. Sweet White Sage: A warm, slightly sweet scent that combines the earthiness of sage with a touch of sweetness, great for creating a cozy, comforting atmosphere.
  6. Brilliant Blue Lavender: A floral, slightly herbal aroma that captures the essence of blooming lavender fields, perfect for calming the mind and promoting relaxation.

Historical Background

Early Beginnings

Nippon Kodo’s story is a fascinating journey that takes us back over 400 years, to a time when Juemon Takai, better known as Koju, served as the principal provider of rare and exquisite aromas to the Emperor of Japan and his court. Koju was not just a merchant; he was an artisan, a master in the art of incense making. His legacy laid the foundation for what Nippon Kodo is today. During the Tensho era in the late 16th century, Koju’s aromatic creations became the gold standard in incense, setting a high bar for quality and craftsmanship that the company still upholds.

Meiji Restoration Period

Fast forward to the 19th century, and we encounter another pivotal figure in Nippon Kodo’s history: Yujiro Kito. Hailed as a “genius of fragrance,” Kito came into prominence during the Meiji Restoration, a period marked by Japan’s rapid modernization. While the country was opening its doors to the world, Kito was opening the world’s doors to the art of Japanese incense making. He took the original formulas created by Koju and adapted them to the changing times, skillfully blending tradition with innovation. His contributions not only enriched Nippon Kodo’s product line but also helped the company navigate the challenges and opportunities of a modernizing Japan.

Cultural Significance of Incense in Japan

Incense holds a special place in the cultural fabric of Japan. Introduced in the 8th century by Buddhist monks, it initially served religious purposes, aiding in meditation and rituals. Over time, its use permeated the aristocracy, becoming a source of amusement and enlightenment in their parlor games. By the 14th century, during the Muromachi Era, incense had reached the height of its popularity among the upper and middle classes. It became a mark of distinction and sophistication, a way to dispel unpleasant odors, and even a tool for samurai warriors who perfumed their helmets and armor before going into battle.

Nippon Kodo’s Commitments to Quality: An In-Depth Look

Unique Fragrances

When it comes to creating unique fragrances, Nippon Kodo incense marries the wisdom of traditional perfumery with the innovation of modern scent creation. The company employs some of Japan’s most renowned olfactory experts, individuals whose instincts and expertise in fragrance composition are second to none. This collaborative effort between tradition and modernity results in a diverse portfolio of scents. Each fragrance captures the essence of ancient Japanese rituals while resonating with contemporary sensibilities, making the experience of using Nippon Kodo’s incense a journey through time.

Skilled Craftsmanship

The path to becoming a craftsman at Nippon Kodo is a long and arduous one, requiring not just years of training but also an innate sensitivity to the nuances of natural materials and environmental conditions. These craftsmen are trained to detect even the slightest variations in weather and air conditions, which can affect the quality of the incense. Their hands have the delicate touch needed for the intricate process of incense making, from kneading the materials to the final product. It’s this level of skill and dedication that sets Nippon Kodo apart in the industry.

Production Process

The production process at Nippon Kodo is a multi-step endeavor that demands precision and attention to detail at every stage. Starting with the careful kneading of natural materials, each craftsman must navigate the challenges of cutting these soft, freshly kneaded substances. The selection process that follows ensures that only the finest pieces make it to the rolling stage. Throughout this complex process, experienced craftsmen oversee each step, ensuring that the end product meets the company’s rigorous quality standards.

Sourcing of Materials

Nippon Kodo’s commitment to quality extends to the very origins of their raw materials. The company has built an extensive global network to source the finest natural aromatic materials from around the world. But their responsibility doesn’t end at sourcing; they also take active steps to give back to the Earth. Nippon Kodo engages in forestation projects and other environmental conservation activities, particularly in Southeast Asia, where many of their aromatic woods originate. This dual focus on quality and sustainability ensures that the company’s products are not just exceptional but also ethically produced.

Cultural Preservation

Beyond the commercial aspect of incense making, Nippon Kodo sees itself as a custodian of Japanese cultural heritage. The company offers lessons in the traditional art of incense burning, providing both theoretical and practical knowledge to enthusiasts. They also participate in cultural events and collaborate with institutions to promote the significance of incense in Japanese history and rituals. Through these educational initiatives, Nippon Kodo aims to pass on the rich traditions of Japanese incense to future generations, ensuring that this ancient art form continues to thrive in the modern world.


In wrapping up, Nippon Kodo doesn’t just make incense; it crafts aromatic experiences. With a rich history that spans over 400 years, this company sets the gold standard in the incense world. Each series, from the luxurious Kayuragi to the eco-friendly Scentsual, offers something unique. They source rare materials globally. Skilled craftsmen pour their expertise into every stick and cone. Beyond the product, Nippon Kodo champions cultural preservation and environmental sustainability. In short, whether you’re an incense novice or a seasoned enthusiast, Nippon Kodo promises an aromatic journey worth taking.

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The heart and spirit behind "Let’s Talk Spirituality," an explorer, healer, and dreamer who's journeyed through life's intricate pathways. My experiences have shaped a sanctuary where souls can find their harmonious connection with the cosmos.

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