Hi, I’m Chie from Zak Zakka. I’ve become interested in Japanese incense in the past year or so, and I’ve been buying different ones when I go back. I’m excited that we have started selling incense from Kousaido, a Japanese incense shop based in the ancient capital of Japan, Kyoto. Today I will be comparing three different scents of Kousaido incense we offer on our website - Sandalwood, Osmanthus, and Magnolia.
Making Japanese incense part of your everyday life
You may have read our blog on Kousaido Japanese incense, explaining how it has a very long history and has been passed down generations despite the change in society and lifestyle.I’ve always liked the smell of incense, but for me, it used to be something I would only come across at shrines and temples when I visited in the new year.
Today, Japan’s traditional incense culture is being re-evaluated and the younger generation is increasingly interested in incorporating traditional aspects such as kimono, tea ceremony, and incense into their lives, and many incense brands, like Kousaido, offer incense that would be incorporated into our everyday life.
Since ancient times, the scent of incense has been said to have a positive effect on anxiety, anger, tension. There is a wide variety of scent, and you can choose different scents depending on personal preference, time of day, or which room you use it in.
How to use Kousaido Incense
There are different shapes of incense, but the stick form is the most typical and probably a good place to start. Each Kousaido incense takes about 20-30 minutes to burn, but you can snap it shorter if you prefer a shorter burn time. All you have to do is light the incense (I use a lighter), blow the flame out once lit, and place it on the incense holder. We recommend Kousaido Incense Holder as the stick is quite long and you will need something to catch the ashes.
The box comes with a round incense holder that will allow you to stand the incense, but if you opt to use that, make sure you put a big enough plate or a tray underneath so that the ashes won’t fall and smear the surface.
I tend to burn incense in the living room where I spend the longest time, whether it be working, relaxing or reading. Unlike a plug-in room fragrance, the scent is not too strong or chemical, and even after the incense burns out, you can still smell a lingering scent, which is really calming and somehow satisfying. Although you burn the incense, there’s minimal smoke and all you can smell is the lovely scent of the incense.
Comparison of the scents
Below is a chart from Kousaido’s website, showing how they rate each scent.
Sandalwood: Earthy woody scent, but not too heavy. There’s a warmth to the scent as well. Probably what you would think of as the scent of traditional Japanese incense.
Osmanthus: It has a floral, sweet scent, but not in a sickly way. It might be a good entry incense, as to me it has a more western fragrance to it.
Magnolia: Clean, almost soapy scent. Not heavy at all and it gives the room a fresh atmosphere. It’s the first time I tried magnolia incense, and I was pleasantly surprised how refreshing it smelt, and I kept wanting to inhale the scent.
Of the three, my favourite is either magnolia or sandalwood – if you want to immerse yourself in a traditional Japanese scent, I would go for sandalwood, magnolia if you want something fresh and light, and osmanthus if you want a less oriental, more rounded, sweet scent.
I hope my post has sparked an interest in Kousaido’s Japanese incense, and hopefully it will help pick a scent you’d like to give a try.