Kousaido: Bamboo, Lotus, Engimono (Ocean)

Kousaido seems to be a  fairly new incense company in Japan ( in other words less than 50 years). They also seem to be directing their line towards  the newer styles of scents coming out of Japan. They very skillfully use a variety of materials to create some very fresh takes on many classic ideas for incense.

I do not think any of the three that I reviewed here are based on classic sandalwood or aloeswood formulas, rather than that they are designed to present a scent that is built to showcase an idea or concept, a sort of scent picture of the name of each incense.

Lighting a stick of the Bamboo  and closing your eyes finds one sitting within a bamboo grove, it’s soft with a slight green note, a little sweetness (just a touch) and very real. There are none of the harsh or chemical smells that so often underlay this type of scent. It is really nicely done.

The Lotus truly gets the idea across of what you would think of as a lotus scent. Somewhat sweet with floral notes, not like jasmine or the other “white flower” scents. There is a slight edge to it that really brings the “lotus” note home, without the almost latex aspect of lotus.

Ocean smells like a very clean beach, probably cleaner than most you can find. Ocean scents or aquatic scents were all the rage at one point in the perfume world, most of them ended up smelling like a chemical bath in a chroming factory. This incense is completely devoid of those notes and is really a great mood changer in a room. Clean surf at a secluded beach, just the ticket to lighten up the atmosphere in a city environment.

The other great aspect about these is that the price is very good and one gets quite a lot of sticks. To the best of my knowledge Kohshi /Japan Incense in San Francisco are the only people selling these in the US and they have pretty large selection to choose from.   -Ross


  1. Misa Yamamoto said,

    January 20, 2012 at 8:43 am

    First of all, I am looking for a lady whom I met here and is interested in my rohzan and kyara, I lost her address by mistake and I am still looking around for it. Ms. Marian san, I want to answer all your questions, and I am sorry to be so late, we were busy with the main business.

    Kohsaido san, yes, they smell like perfume, especially the famous Kamonoseseragi, which is used in ryokans just like Horikawa of Shoheidoh. However, maybe you can try, (Through me LoL) the Chanting of Sutras at Shimizu, The Lotus Image(osenkoh type), Mubenohana(Flower of the kind of state of samadi or calmness and happiness in meditation), Suras Recited in the Hills and the Temple Bell of Equinox. These 6 have not been out to the west, and our company has permision to deal with them as well as the Heian no Haisaibe Series which is, yes, perfume type but in the image of ancient clothes of Japanese women. I am not used to here so I don’t know if I can post a picture or a scan…..I will study. Kohsaidoh has aseries of Japanese perfume made in the image of Japanese incense only sold at their stor in Kyoto, however, we specially received kind permission for outside of Japan. The problem is where the nice box was made was where the earthquake was, so they are out of the 3 most traditional fragrances that we deal with.
    If you are looking for simple fragrance, you can try Take coils (room type incense), Take means bamboo. Also the Zen coils, and that would be the most simple or tradtional they have. I personally do not advise their jinkoh or kyara premium, especially for someone listening to agarwood for the first time, they are too flavored. The company Art Lab is always copying Kosido in design ha ha

    Please all have a nice weekend.

    Marian san I am really sorry and looking for you.

    I will be starting a simple blog about Japanese fragrances, and sometimes scenaries or food etc., just to keep my brain young, ha ha

    Have a great weekend!

  2. glennjf said,

    January 5, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Here is a July 2010 link to reviews for 22 Kousaido incenses were available in Australia at that time.

    It was early incense appreciation days for me back then so my thoughts I posted were extremely novice. Since then my understanding and appreciation has increased. Were if I was to review them again today I’d almost certainly come to different determinations for some of them.

    I recently contacted the Ikeguchi retail shop. note: their website still reports as being under construction. I was told they were out of incenses but expecting new and possibly different stock at anytime.

  3. Petra said,

    January 5, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Thanks for the review! Recently some Kousaido incenses have become available in Europe but I was not sure if they were worth getting. Now I will try them for sure when summer comes around and I want something fresh and clean.

    Since Koh-Shi does not ship to Europe I thought I might share this here with those of you fellow readers who live here as well and want to try these – six of the Kousaido incenses and other Japanese incenses are available here:


    Kousaido is right on top. The site is in German and the seller ships from Austria. I have ordered from there before.

  4. Marian said,

    January 5, 2012 at 7:36 am

    I’ve never been in a bamboo grove. This sticks sound like an inexpensive way to find out what it smells like 🙂 There’s a stage of water boiling where the sound supposedly resembles bamboo swaying the wind. I love that image so my curious is aroused about these sticks.
    Right now it’s 30 degrees here, and all of these sound more like Spring or Summer scents, but maybe may they’re the kinds of smells I need to bring me a little closer to the days where I could go outside without 3 layers and a hat :_)

    • Ross said,

      January 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

      I have a bunch of boxes of incense with “floral” scents that I never use just because there ends up being the chemical scent somewhere in the mix. Its not that arome chemicals or frangrence oils are bad, its that things react and smell differently when burned or heated then they do at room tempature or on skin. So these sticks, which are not at all pricy, are pretty amazing. Of course this is what my nose tells me, yours may vary 🙂

      • Marian said,

        January 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm

        If the Lotus really resembles the flower that’s quite a bargain way of getting a sniff of one of my favorite scents. One company sells 2 different Pink Lotus oils- with and without stamens- and it’s amazing how different they look and smell. It would be great if the sticks were as intoxicating as the flowers 🙂 I may have to give them, as well as the bamboo, a try 🙂

        • January 10, 2012 at 12:07 am

          It is not a true to life lotus scent(having opened some I got from Eden Botanical to compare), but it does do a good job of getting the idea or story across.
          Which company sells the two different types?

    • January 20, 2012 at 8:51 am

      Oh! Are you Marian san who wrote me a mail before? if not I am sorry!
      I just did not have time to listen to incense slowly or relax, but will have time from now on.

      We recently switched to gmail and I am not used to that, all the conversations come in a cluster! but everyone tells us gmail is good ha ha

      OK if I find your address I will send you rohzan and kyara pictures.
      Thank you very much and take care.

      Misa Yamamoto
      Kinan Kikaku Japan

    • January 20, 2012 at 9:01 am

      Konbanwa! so are you Marian san I am lookinf for?? if not I am sorry.
      I just did not have time to spend much with incense since we had many things with our main business and I have stress so need some agarwood! ha ha (smile)
      The Chanting of Sutras etc is also in the image of bamboo. Those are osenkoh types and not ween in the west. You always get a better deal with osenkoh types! Kousaidoh is rather good rather good with bamboo scent. As I wrote above, the room incense coil Bamboo is simple not too much like perfume.
      I plan to spend more time studying agarwood and incense this year. There is still some boxes of Yamadasan’s new year incense around the storage here, and the small Shoyeidoh new year incense……ha ha I am trying Hinoki and Hiba incenses these days.

      I will try my best re looking to find your address. We switched to gmail recently and conversations are in a cluster which I am not used and will take some time.

      I plan to have a present with each entry of the blog I will start for the first person who mails me. That is how I do with our mail magazine in Japan LoL

      Have a great time with great incense.

      Misa Yamamoto
      Kinan Kikaku

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