Long-established shop in Kyoto taking incense and its fragrance seriously since 1834
Sanjo Street is lined by Kyoto machiya townhouses, but one long-established incense shop stands out with its appearance from the rest. You will know it from its wooden sign which has a nice patina to it. Once you open the sliding door and step inside, it feels like you had entered a different world. Inside the store, you can smell the gentle scent of sandalwood, agarwood, and kyara (the highest grade of incense in Japan). On top of the glass showcase, there were many glass jars, containing such things as sandalwood, musk, and agarwood. Next, to the wooden molds they have dried ingredients used for making incense. It feels as if time were moving slower inside this shop; it feels tranquil.
Welcoming me into the store was Mr. Hayashi, who was packing incense sticks under a dim light as I got to the store. He told me, “Fragrances are a personal preference,” so in accordance with this he listens to the needs and wants of every customer, and lets them test the incense before buying. This earnestness can be also felt in the products.
Hayashi Ryoshudo keeps on making new scents, all based on the traditional recipe book, which has been passed on from generation to generation. “I’ve become fond of scents,” says the smiling Mr. Hayashi – he is an artisan who, although finds traditions very important, keeps on trying new things. This long-established store in Kyoto is a place where you can feel the Japanese artisanal spirit in the air, so I would like to recommend making a visit to it when in Kyoto.
Nijo Castle Ume-dayori
/ ￥990 (Including tax)
These round incense disks contain plum grown in the gardens of Nijo Castle and natural sandalwood. In the soothing fragrance of the sandalwood, you can smell the plum fragrance too. The incenses disks are shaped like plum blossoms, so they look very cute, and are great souvenirs.
Kyo-no-hanadayori (6 types of fragrance/ 18 pieces)
/ ￥￥1,210(Including tax)
With this box, you can enjoy the fragrances of rose, lily, sandalwood, wisteria, violet, and lotus. The fragrances are more subtle than those of perfumed oils, and the gentle fragrances are very soothing. The incense sticks are diamond shaped, so the fragrance gets stronger the longer you burn them – but the lingering fragrance is also very nice!
3Check it out!
/ ￥1,980 each (Including tax)
In the dialect of Kyoto, maimai means “to take a stroll.” This product was designed in collaboration with the potter Tomoko Tsuda, who designed the incense stand included in Maiko maimai. The set “Kamogawa Walk” contains three different recommended incense sticks, while the set “The light of Gion” contains three types of agarwood incense sticks.
4Check it out!
/ ￥440～ (Including tax)
These incense stands in shapes like animals and zori-sandals are cute and colorful. How about enjoying both the nice scent of incense and the cuteness of the incense stand at home? It’s also fun to choose your favorite from the of incense stands.