Shoyeido vs Nippon Kodo: A Comprehensive Comparison

When it comes to Japanese incense, two well-known brands stand out: Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo. As you explore the world of incense, you may find yourself wondering about the differences between these two brands and which one is the better choice for you.

Shoyeido is known for its sense of tradition and use of natural woods, herbs, and other ingredients in crafting their incense. On the other hand, Nippon Kodo offers a wider range of products, from all-natural fragrances to more commercially manufactured scents. While both brands have their dedicated clientele, each one offers a unique experience to users seeking to incorporate incense into their daily lives.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the history and offerings of Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo, discussing their similarities and differences, to help you make an informed decision. Throughout your journey, you’ll discover how these brands have shaped the world of Japanese incense and why they continue to be industry leaders today.


What is Japanese Incense?

Japanese incense holds a special place in the world of aromatics, with two major brands standing out: Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo. To better understand these brands and their products, let’s first explore some key aspects of Japanese incense.

When you burn incense, its fragrant smoke infuses the air with a soothing aroma. Incense is made from natural materials, like tree bark or herbs, and comes in both all-natural and manufactured forms. In Japan, the word for incense is ko (香), which is also used for the words translated as smell or fragrance, kaori (香り).

Compared to other types of incense, Japanese incense typically doesn’t contain a bamboo core. As a result, the aroma it releases is subtler and less potent.

Appreciation for incense in Japan is called kōdō, and it shares equal importance with other traditional art forms like sadō (tea ceremony) and shodō (Japanese calligraphy) in Japanese culture.

Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo are both renowned Japanese incense manufacturers that offer a wide variety of scents and products. While their incenses are similar in many ways, they differ in some key aspects, which might impact your preference for one over the other.

First, it is essential to consider the ingredients and manufacturing process. While both brands produce high-quality incense, the specific formulas and techniques they use may create subtle differences in fragrance and smoke density. It is recommended to try various products from both brands to find your favorite scents and styles.

Next, consider the packaging and presentation. Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo both offer beautifully designed packaging, which can be a factor if you are looking to give incense as a gift or want to display it in your home.

Lastly, consider your personal preferences and experiences. When choosing between Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo, your decision may ultimately come down to which brand’s fragrances resonate better with you. Experimenting with different scents and discussing your preferences with other incense enthusiasts can help you discover the perfect match for your tastes.

Remember, there is no definitive answer to which brand is better, as it all comes down to your personal preferences. By understanding incense and its unique characteristics, you’ll be better equipped to find the fragrances that truly speak to your soul from both Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo.

Overview of Shoyeido

Origins of Shoyeido

Shoyeido is a well-established Japanese incense company, with a rich history that can be traced back to over 300 years ago.

As you dive into the world of Shoyeido incense, you’ll find that they are dedicated to producing high-quality products made with natural ingredients such as woods, herbs, and spices. This commitment to quality has earned Shoyeido a loyal following among incense enthusiasts worldwide.

In their early years, Shoyeido was a leading supplier to the Imperial Court in Kyoto, catering to the needs of Japan’s aristocracy. This heritage is still reflected in their products today, as they continue to blend traditional recipes with modern innovations.

Varieties of Shoyeido Products

As you explore the Shoyeido product line, you’ll find an impressive variety of incense to suit your personal preferences. From daily-use incense to premium, high-end offerings, there is a Shoyeido product for every occasion.

  • Daily-Use Incense: Shoyeido’s daily-use incense series offers a wide range of affordable, yet high-quality fragrances. You can enjoy the soothing scents of these incense sticks during your everyday meditation, yoga, or simply for relaxation. Like Nokia (Moss Garden) Hoyei-koh (Eternal Treasure)Kin-kaku (Golden Pavilion) etc.
  • Premium Incense: For a more luxurious experience, Shoyeido’s premium incense features exclusive blends with more exotic and rare ingredients. These premium offerings provide a unique olfactory experience and are perfect for special occasions or gifts. Like Kyara Kongo (Selected Aloeswood), Shun-yo (Beckoning Spring), Ohjya-koh (King’s Fragrance), and so on.
  • Horin Series: Shoyeido’s Horin series is a collection of sophisticated fragrances inspired by the ancient “Belt of the Heavens.” Each unique scent in this series evokes a different celestial body or heavenly realm, transporting you to a world of wonder and relaxation.

As you delve into the delightful world of Shoyeido incense, you’ll discover a range of fragrant options perfect for nurturing your mind, body, and spirit. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful moment or a celestial journey, Shoyeido has an incense blend to suit your desires.

Overview of Nippon Kodo

Nippon Kodo’s History

Nippon Kodo is a well-known Japanese incense company with a rich history dating back to the 16th century. The company was established by incorporation in New York City in 1965 and now stands as the largest seller of Japanese incense worldwide. Nippon Kodo prides itself on producing high-quality incense using traditional methods passed down through generations.

Nippon Kodo Product Line

Nippon Kodo offers a wide range of incense products suitable for various uses. They design their incense with care, ensuring that it is either all-natural or manufactured with high-quality materials.

  • Everyday Incense: Most of Nippon Kodo’s incense is considered “everyday” quality. This line of incense provides an affordable and enjoyable fragrance option for use in daily life. Such as Morning StarKayuragi and Naturense series.
  • Premium Incense: Nippon Kodo also produces a selection of premium incense, offering a more exquisite and unique fragrance experience. These premium options are perfect for special occasions or for those who have a more refined taste in incense. Like Oedo-Koh, Kohden and Tokyo-Zenso series.

Nippon Kodo’s diverse product line ensures that there is something for everyone, making it a popular choice for both beginners and connoisseurs alike. As you explore their offerings, you’re sure to find the perfect fragrance to enhance your daily life.

What are the Key Differences between Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo?

When it comes to choosing between Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo, there are a few key differences to consider. Both companies have a long history in the incense industry, but their products vary in terms of ingredients, quality, and scent.


Shoyeido, along with other brands such as Baieido, Keigado, Kunjudo, Kyukyodo, Yamadamatsu, and Kunmeido, focuses on creating incense using a combination of actual woods, herbs, and other natural ingredients.

Nippon Kodo, on the other hand, offers both all-natural and manufactured incense options. This difference can affect the quality and aroma of the incense, with a more natural product potentially resulting in a more authentic and soothing scent.


In general, Shoyeido is known for its premium incense collection, which is handmade by highly skilled artisans using centuries-old recipes. Nippon Kodo also produces quality incense, but the majority of their products are considered “everyday” quality.

This distinction means that if you appreciate artisan craftsmanship and traditional techniques, you might be more drawn to Shoyeido’s offerings.

Scent Variety

Nippon Kodo boasts a broad range of incense scents, from their popular sandalwood and palo santo blends to more unique floral fragrances like the Hana no Hana violet variant.

Shoyeido, while offering a diverse array of scents, is perhaps more renowned for its plum blossom incense. Depending on your preferences and scent sensitivities, you might prefer one brand’s offerings over the other.

With these differences in mind, it’s important to remember that your personal preferences play a large role in determining which brand works best for you. Take the time to explore the variety of scents and qualities offered by both companies and enjoy the aromatic world of Japanese incense.

Price Comparison

When comparing the prices of Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo, it’s important to consider the quality and length of the incense sticks you’re purchasing.

Shoyeido offers a variety of incense sticks, with prices ranging from affordable to more expensive, depending on the quality. On the other hand, Nippon Kodo has a reputation for being more mass-produced and budget-friendly.

For example, some Shoyeido “Daily” incense sticks can be found at a price similar to those of Nippon Kodo’s “Eiju” aloeswood sticks, which are known for their shorter length and shorter burning time of approximately 30 minutes, compared to the Shoyeido sticks that last around 45+ minutes.

This means that you might need to purchase more Nippon Kodo sticks to achieve the same burn time as Shoyeido.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that price isn’t everything. Shoyeido tends to focus on using natural ingredients such as wood, herbs, and other natural elements.

In contrast, Nippon Kodo’s mass-produced, affordable incense might not deliver the same quality in terms of scent and experience.

To better understand the price differences, let’s compare some popular products from both brands:

  • Shoyeido:
    • Daily Series: $4-8 per box
    • Premium Series: $12-40 per box
  • Nippon Kodo:
    • Kayuragi Series: $9-12 per box
    • Morning Star Series: $3-5 per box

As you can see, Shoyeido’s prices tend to be higher, reflecting the use of higher-quality ingredients and scents. However, Nippon Kodo offers more affordable options for those on a budget, or for those who haven’t yet developed a preference in terms of incense quality or who are just starting out.

In summary, when comparing the prices of Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo incense, it’s essential to weigh the importance of quality and burn time against your budget.

While Shoyeido may be more expensive, their focus on natural ingredients and longer-lasting scents might be worth the additional investment for some. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, Nippon Kodo’s affordable incense may be a solid choice.

User Experience

When comparing Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo, it’s important to consider the user experience.

Many users have found that Shoyeido incense sticks tend to produce a more natural scent, giving the impression of burning a combination of actual woods, herbs, and other natural ingredients. As you explore the world of incense, you may appreciate this deeper connection to nature and the calming effect it can bring.

On the other hand, some users have reported that certain Nippon Kodo scents, such as Scentsual: Sparkling Gold Yuzu, have a synthetic perfume quality to them 2.

If you prefer fruity and juicy scents, you might find this line of Nippon Kodo products appealing. However, keep in mind that halfway through the stick, some users have noticed a burning paper or newspaper smell.

When choosing between SHOYEIDO Plum Blossoms Incense and Nippon Kodo Ka-Fuh (Scent Of Blossoms In The Wind) White Plum, users have shown varied preferences 3. While some prefer the delicate and subtle fragrance of SHOYEIDO, others appreciate the more pronounced scent of Nippon Kodo.

It’s important to remember that personal preferences for scent and intensity can differ greatly between individuals.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that Nippon Kodo offers a range of incense products beyond their Morning Star line, which some users find less impressive. For instance, Kyara Taikan, a long-stick incense from Nippon Kodo, has received positive feedback from users who find it quite enjoyable 4.


  1. Reddit: Shoyeido vs. Nippon Kodo
  2. Reddit: A beginner’s experiences (Paine’s, Baieido, Shoyeido, Les …
  3. Reddit: SHOYEIDO Plum Blossoms Incense or Nippon Kodo Ka-Fuh (Scent Of …
  4. Reddit: Nippon Kodo?

Durability and Longevity

When comparing Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo incense, durability and longevity are essential factors to consider. As you explore these two well-known brands, it’s essential to evaluate how long the incense sticks last and whether they maintain their fragrance throughout the burn.

Shoyeido incense sticks are known for their natural ingredients and have a reputation for being of high quality. Many users report that Shoyeido incense sticks offer a pleasant and consistent fragrance, allowing you to enjoy a relaxing atmosphere as they burn.

On the other hand, Nippon Kodo is sometimes referred to as the “fast food” of the incense world, as mentioned in a discussion on Reddit. While some of their products may be more cost-effective and widely available, they could burn faster or have a less consistent fragrance compared to their Shoyeido counterparts.

When considering the longevity of each stick, both brands may vary depending on the particular product line and ingredients used. While Shoyeido is generally known for a longer-lasting fragrance, some Nippon Kodo incense sticks, such as their Ka-Fuh Hinoki scent, still have a strong, one-note aroma that is enjoyable for users.

Keep in mind that personal preferences and expectations also play a role in determining which brand suits your needs better. You may find that Nippon Kodo’s bold and straightforward scents are perfect for your taste, while others prefer the subtlety and complexity of Shoyeido fragrances.

In summary, when comparing Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo incense sticks for durability and longevity, it’s essential to be aware of the differences in quality and ingredients.

While Shoyeido is often praised for its consistent, long-lasting fragrance, Nippon Kodo also has some offerings that may surprise you with their staying power. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your unique preferences and what you value in an incense stick.


When comparing Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo, it’s important to consider your personal preferences and the specific qualities you’re looking for in incense. Both companies offer a range of products, from everyday to high-end incense sticks.

Shoyeido is often praised for its use of natural ingredients and the quality of its fragrances. Their incense is known for creating a calming and soothing environment, which makes it a popular choice for meditation and relaxation. Many users appreciate the fact that Shoyeido incense sticks often give off the impression of a combination of natural woods, herbs, and other ingredients.

On the other hand, Nippon Kodo has a wide variety of products, including the popular Morning Star Sandalwood, which is highly rated in terms of quality 4.2 / 5. Nippon Kodo’s incense is great for everyday use and is generally more affordable, making it a popular choice for many people.

Both brands are well-respected in the world of incense, and choosing between them ultimately depends on your personal preferences. If you are looking for a more natural and subtle aroma, you might prefer Shoyeido. However, if affordability and variety are more important to you, Nippon Kodo might be the better option.

In the end, the choice is yours, and you can always try out a few different types of incense from each brand to find the one that best suits your needs and preferences. Enjoy the fragrances and the experience that Japanese incense from both Shoyeido and Nippon Kodo can bring to your life.

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