Shoyeido Pride of Kyoto Incense Stick Review

Shoyeido Premium Incense Sampler

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Today I am going to be reviewing Shoyeido Pride of Kyoto incense sticks.

Shoyeido Company History

Shoyeido has been around for over 300 years and is one of the more prominent Japanese incense manufacturers and exporters. The founder of the company was Rokubei Moritsune Hata, who was an employee in Kyoto’s Imperial Palace in the 18th century. The history of Shoyeido has now spanned over twelve generations.

Due to Shoyeido’s company history, they are considered to be an accurate representation of Japanese incense. If you haven’t really tried much Japanese incense, then Shoyeido is probably one of the better brands to start with.

It’s typical for Japanese incense manufacturers to use nature as inspiration for their creations. Many Japanese incense creations are forged from the memory of fragrances experienced in past-times. This leads Japanese incense to be quite different from the other various forms.

Kyoto, the city where Shoyeido is located, is essentially a cultural center for Japan. Traditional goods, arts, and practices are kept alive in this city. An interesting fact about Kyoto is that it was almost a target for an atomic bomb during World War 2. However, the US Secretary of State at the time, Henry Lewis Stimson, personally intervened to save Kyoto from destruction.

Pride of Kyoto Incense Packaging

So, this particular incense I received came in their ‘Premium Incense Assortment’ sampler pack, which I purchased along with some other of their products.

The sampler pack contained the following incense sticks:

  • King’s Aroma (Ohjya-koh)
  • Pride of Kyoto (Kyo-jiman)
  • Beckoning Spring (Shun-yo)
  • Gentle Smile (Misho)
  • Southern Wind (Nan-kun)
  • Refinement (Ga-ho)
  • Infinity (Myo-ho)
  • Translucent Path (Sho-kaku)

These incense sticks are marketed as ‘All Natural’ and are said to contain no synthetic oils or fragrances. A lot of people are picky about the quality of incense they burn, and you should be too. Remember that you are inhaling whatever incense you are burning, so it’s important that it is non-toxic.

The product description says:

The precise recipe for Pride of Kyoto dates back more than six decades, but the classic recipe upon which it is based is much older still.

Enjoy this superb offering of fine incense from beautiful Kyoto — one of humanity’s great cultural centers.

It’s interesting to me that Shoyeido mentions this recipe is based upon a very old incense recipe. It implies that they must have taken an old recipe and changed or modified it in some way. I wish they would mention what that change is and how this recipe differs from the one from previous generations.

Shoyeido mentions on their website that this incense’s main scents are comprised of clove, benzoin, and agarwood. That’s an interesting scent combination. Shoyeido’s recipes are closely guarded trade secrets, so they rarely disclose a full ingredient list.

Pride of Kyoto Review

This is a beautiful smelling incense stick. I was deceived by it’s light green color. I didn’t read the description before I burned it and I expected a more ‘green’ sort of smell. The first thing I smelled upon lighting it was a deep scent of agarwood, but I’m pretty sure there is sandalwood in there as well.

It developed into a heavy benzoin scent with elements of camphor and spikenard.

I am a fan of benzoin, and appreciate it’s deep undertones. I understand not everybody enjoys this, but I find the scent rather entrancing. I mentioned in my Shoyeido Beckoning Spring incense review that the camphor opened my sinuses in a similar way as the essential oil would. Burning this incense gave me that same feeling and seemed to actually make breathing easier.

Sometimes with Shoyeido it is hard to discern an exact list of ingredients just from scent. They are known to incorporate as many as 70 ingredients into their incense sticks. This makes their fragrance profiles a bit more complex then some other Japanese incense manufacturers who take a simpler approach to the craft.


Shoyeido has done it again.

If you are a fan of a heavy benzoin scent, then you would probably adore these.

I hope you found this information beneficial.

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