The sense of smell is elusive. It is ubiquitous but cannot be seen or touched. It is one of the strongest catalysts for recalling memories and evoking certain emotions.

Recently the fragrance market has been booming. Especially in Japan. Many scent design brands have introduced novel aromas, but traditional incense fragrances remain the most popular amongst consumers.

Kōdō is one of the most significant historic practices of Japanese culture. The appreciation is not just of the aroma, but also the nuanced etiquette for preparing the incense.

Shoyeido Incense was founded in 1705. Kyoto’s Shoyeido Kenjyukun provides a novel way to explore the world of scent design while promoting Japanese culture.

The Shoyeido building was built in 1959 and renovated in 2018. The first floor features Koh-labo. In this room, there are scented boxes for visitors to detect the differences in the aromas.

From the outside, a person standing with their head in a box looks quite humorous. However funny it may look, inside each box contains detailed information regarding the profile of the scent. As you smell the fragrance you can study the distinctions of each to better understand scent design.

The museum also teaches the differences between aromatic woods and other fragrant ingredients, such as fennel, musk, borneol, and ancient white sandalwood.

The aromatics are isolated in a laboratory fashion, with instruments to experience them in their purest form.

Several aromatherapy bottles provide visitors with a variety of spices alongside computer models to explain the complex production process of aromatics.

Once fully understanding the selection and process of raw materials, visitors can purchase aromas suited to their preference in the Kunjyukan Shoyeido Incense shop. Various incense and fragrance accessories are also available.

The aesthetic of Kōdō instruments and craftsmanship tools is very balanced. In addition to making your home full of fragrance, it also adds a unique interior detail.

Studies have shown that olfactory memory is stronger than visual memory. Scent design can be used to open up long-forgotten moments of the past.

Karasuma Nijo Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-0857 Japan