Difference Between Japanese Incense and Indian

Incense Stick

Incense has been a part of different spiritual and religious ceremonies for very many years. Over the years, there have been different sizes and shapes of incense. You will get different varieties including incense cones, sticks, wood chips, as well as resins.

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When most people think of incense, they do not know that there are different levels of quality. When it comes to incense, you will have so much to choose from, not just the low-quality varieties in the market. Two of the main varieties include Japanese and Indian incense.

Is Japanese incense better than Indian? Well, we have prepared this post to try and explain how these two compare when put side by side. Keep reading for a detailed comparison.

The Difference

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One thing you should know is that different people will choose Indian or Japanese incense for different reasons. While Indian incense is rich, Japanese incense is subtle.

The Core

Burning incense Stick

In Japanese, the appreciation and art of incense are referred to as Koh-do, which means listening to incense. One way you can identify Japanese incense is the lack of a bamboo core and the fact that it is less potent and more subtle. It can take you a long time before you can get to appreciate the complexity of the fragrance produced by Japanese incense.

Indian incense is also referred to as Agarbathi. It has been part of spiritual and religious ceremonies for many years and is still used to date. The incense is rich, and potent, and is recognized for its power.

Indian incense, however, has a bamboo core. In most cases, a white bamboo core is preferred since it does not have any effects on the aroma produced. It also produces less smoke.


Additionally, traditional Japanese incense is mainly based on a select few ingredients. These include Aloeswood, Sandalwood, Camphor, Cinnamon, as well as other traditional spices. You will find that most of the brands that produce the traditional type of incense use recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. However, other modern types of incense have other fruity or floral fragrances. These, however, still make use of the Aloeswood or Sandalwood base.

The most popular Indian incense is Masala sticks, which feature a bamboo core that is then coated using a thick base paste. The base can be Sandalwood, Amber resins, Charcoal, Vanilla, and Cedarwood, as well as some gums that help in binding the materials.


Incense material Quality

You will find different quality levels of Japanese incense. You can easily tell the quality based on the price. Some of the popular brands that produce Japanese incense include Baieido and Shoyeido.

The quality of Indian incense depends on the ratio and mix of the materials used. The hand-rolled varieties are the better preference. Even so, the highest quality of Indian incense is cheaper than most Japanese varieties. One brand you can consider is ‘The Mother’s Indian Fragrance’ for an affordable range of incense.

Also, read: Best Incense Brands From Japan To India


Now that you know the difference between Japanese incense vs. Indian, you can choose based on what you think would be best for you.

If you would prefer strong incense, Indian incense would work best. If, on the other hand, you prefer a subtle option, then you would have better chances with Japanese incense.

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