Best Japanese Incenses

The best Japanese incense won’t overwhelm your senses. Indeed, compared to other types of incenses it’s milder. Yet you’ll still experience the calmness you want to achieve. Its floral and woody scents make it the ideal companion during your meditation sessions.

Japanese incense is distinctly different from other incense variants. It has a more subtle aroma, reminiscent of woody and floral scents. Unlike Indian incense that has a stronger scent. While it’s also floral, the scent is sweeter in nature.

Traditionally, Japanese incense is integral to the practice of Buddhist rituals. It’s meant to cleanse the environment to prepare it for the sacred ceremony. In time, it evolved into an art form with the innovation of scents. Likewise, the design of Japanese incense and their displays also improved.

Nowadays, you won’t have a problem shopping for Japanese incense. Indeed, a quick online search will yield a wide range of results. This becomes particularly problematic if you’ve no clear idea of what you’re looking for. Thus, you might end up with a Japanese incense product that doesn’t smell nice. So, it might give you the wrong idea about the product. Worse, you might get turned off from it all together.

To keep that from happening, we feature the top products in this category to give you a better idea of what the best Japanese incense is.

Morning Star Sandalwood Incense

The Morning Star Sandalwood Incense is ideal for daily use. So, you can enjoy its aromatic woodsy scent day in and day out. Indeed, this product is the ideal gift if you love incense. At the same time, it’s a great gift idea if you want to share your love of incense with others.

Each package of Morning Star Sandalwood Incense comes with 200 sticks. More importantly, you don’t have to worry about lighting it as it also comes with its own ceramic tile burner. The product is tested by the manufacturer’s own staff. Hence, they’re confident that you and your family will also like it.

Shoyeido’s Kyoto Autumn Leaves Incense

Shoyeido's Kyoto Autumn Leaves Incense, 35 sticks - Kyo-nishiki

Kyoto Autumn Leaves Incense from Shoyeido is a delightful blend of benzoin, clove, patchouli, sandalwood, and spices. It gives you a chance to experience the beauty of the fall season on any day of the year. The burning time per stick of Shoyeido’s Kyoto Autumn Leaves Incense is approximately 50 minutes. Thus, giving you sufficient time to relax and meditate in its scent.

Each pack of Shoyeido’s Kyoto Autumn Leaves Incense has 35 sticks. Each measuring 8 ¾ inches. The product is available in four fragrances. Take your pick from Autumn Leaves, Eternal Treasure, Great Origin, or Moss Garden.

Nippon Kodo – Morning Star – Cedarwood

Nippon Kodo - Morning Star - Cedarwood 200 Sticks and Holder

If you’re looking for Japanese incense for daily use, then the Nippon Kodo – Morning Star – Cedarwood could be your best bet. Its cedar scent will give you the peace of mind you deserve. So, you’ll feel calm and ready to face each day at your best. The burning time per stick is approximately 25 minutes.

A Ceramic tile incense burner is included with every purchase of this product. If you love the smell of a warm fireplace, then you’ll certainly enjoy the cedarwood scent of Nippon Kodo’s Morning Star. It’s subtle and won’t overcome your senses with a heavy fragrance. Each pack of Nippon Kodo – Morning Star – Cedarwood contains 200 sticks.

Nippon Kodo Mainichi-Koh Sandalwood Incense

Nippon Kodo Mainichi-Koh Sandalwood Incense 300pcs incense sticks

The Nippon Kodo Mainichi-Koh Sandalwood Incense gives you a pleasant experience every time you light up a stick. Chances are if you close your eyes, you could possibly imagine yourself standing in front of a temple or shrine situated in Japan. A number of users who’ve been to the country swear the scent is the closest to the incense burning at these sites. Hence, its authenticity is remarkable.

Each pack of the Nippon Kodo Mainichi-Koh Sandalwood Incense contains 300 sticks. The sticks are quite thin. So, you might be tempted to light several sticks at a time. However, one stick a day is enough to permeate through your home beautifully.

Morning Star Incense – 12 Fragrance Assortment

Morning Star Incense - 12 Fragrance Assortment (Total 600 sticks) - Sandalwood, Pine, Musk, Patchouli, Jasmine, Rose, Cedarwood, Amber, Vanilla, Green Tea, Lavender & Cinnamon - 12x50 Sticks

You won’t have to worry about your stock of Japanese incense for the next couple of years with the Morning Star Incense – 12 Fragrance Assortment. Each purchase of this product comes with 12 packs of Japanese incense. However, you won’t be stuck with the same scent over and over again. In fact, you’ll have different fragrances at your disposal. Each pack contains 50 sticks.

Choose from Amber, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Green Tea, Lavender, Jasmine, Musk, Patchouli, Pine, Rose, Sandalwood, and Vanilla. So, you can easily pick a fragrance to match or pick up your mood. This product would be ideal for first-time Japanese incense buyers.

Indeed, it gives you the opportunity to explore various fragrances without overspending. Otherwise, you might end up buying too many all at once just to find out how different fragrances smell like. The burning time per stick that measures 4 ¾ inches long is approximately half an hour. Each fragrance pack comes with its own ceramic mini holder.

What to look for

The number of Japanese incense products sold on the market to date can be overwhelming to look at. It becomes especially harder when you don’t really know what you’re supposed to check for. As a result, you might be more stressed rather than have the chance to meditate and relax with the best Japanese incense.

To prevent this from happening, we highlight the top factors you should watch out for while shopping. Each factor highlights the best qualities you want your Japanese incense to have.

  • Ingredients – To experience authentic Japanese incense, it’s best to check if the product was made using natural ingredients. Indeed, many Japanese brands who specialize in incense maintain the traditional production practices. However, they’ve also innovated their product lines so you can expect new, non-traditional scents and more stylish displays.
  • Types – You’ll encounter a wide variety of Japanese incense products when you shop. So, it’s a good idea to learn about each one beforehand. Apart from the traditional purpose of Japanese incense at Buddhist rituals, these can also be used in homes to create a certain mood. One of the earliest types is the kneaded incense. These were used by the nobility in Japan a long time ago. To mold these into shape, a binding material such as honey is added. For greater visual interest, it can also be shaped to look like cherry blossoms. Of late, you’ll find the kneaded incense used at tea ceremonies. Simply place it on top of glowing ash to let out its scent. In contrast, directly burned Japanese incense are more commonplace. You simply light it to use it. The stick variety is commonly used in Buddhist temples. In fact, its length is a way to measure how much time has elapsed during meditation. Alternative forms of the direct burning Japanese incense are the cone and coil-shaped incense. Both variants work well in large spaces. So you can consider using either one in your home or in your workplace.
  • Price – The best Japanese incense products can cost more than the mass-produced variety. Yet its quality is something you can’t ignore. Hence, you’ll definitely notice the difference. As such, it’s best to decide beforehand how much you can afford before you start shopping. However, setting a budget won’t limit your choices as you can still find quality products. Certain brands offer a choice between Japanese incense for a particular use. So you can get a box of Japanese incense for daily use at a more affordable price. However, you can select premium Japanese incense for special occasions.
  • Scent – The scents of Japanese incense is no longer limited to the traditional variants. Nowadays, you can find scents such as coffee, honey, or even strawberries. They’re not what’s traditionally expected yet you’ll still feel relaxed when you light them up in your home.
  • Accessories – Check if the product comes equipped with the necessary accessories to use together with the Japanese incense. For incense sticks, does it include a holder or would that require you to make a separate purchase? This becomes particularly tricky if you’re new to using Japanese incense. Chances are you might not have the necessary accessories to use with it.


Choosing the best Japanese incense won’t be a problem as long as you keep in mind these important factors. Prior to your search, it’s best to decide how much your budget is. Admittedly, the cost of Japanese incense covers a wide range just like the number of products in this category. However, setting a budget won’t limit your choices. Bear in mind that you’ll still find a good selection of products in any price range.

Aside from price, it’s also good to know the different types of Japanese incense sold in the market to date. Each particular type has its own benefits to offer. Knowing what they are will help you decide which will work best for your needs. By its very nature, Japanese incense is meant to help put you in a state of calmness by way of the scent it emits. Nowadays, you have more scents to choose from. Check what accessories you’ll need to enjoy your Japanese incense experience. Alternatively, you might opt to choose a product that offers a complete package.

To help you further, remember to check out these top products in this category. One of them might have what you’re looking for in the best Japanese incense.

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