Nippon Kodo's devotion to making fine incense follows a long and honoured tradition that started in 1575. This spans over 400 years ago, and can be traced back to Jyuemon Takai, better known as Koju. He was a skilled artisan in the art and the principal provider of precious rare and exquisite aromas to the Emperor of Japan and his court. Many of those pleasing and enduring high-quality incense fragrances, which the company continues to produce to this day, are based on the original formulas created by Koju and later by Yujiro Kito. Who was hailed as the genius of fragrance during the Meiji restoration period in the 19th century – around the time that Japan opened its doors and began to modernise itself.
Nippon Kodo, one of the leading companies manufacturing incense in Japan, continues to make its incense mostly by hand, as has been done for hundreds of years. High quality raw materials are used as ingredients in the process of making fine incense. In the manufacturing process, the natural gums and resins from precious woods and floral ingredients are loaded into vats where they are mixed with other organic raw materials. These are then loaded into machines, which extrude the long strings of incense, resembling spaghetti through a cluster of tiny orifices, or make them into cones and coils by placing them in molds.
The incense sticks, cones and coils are then cut evenly and laid out neatly and meticulously in wooden forms where they are left to dry. From here they are taken to a large room where the moisture and temperature are controlled ingeniously by a system of wooded shutters and windows that allow just the right amount of air and light. The incense products remain in the factory for several days until they have hardened and then they are gathered together, packed and readied for shipment to department stores, fragrance boutiques and incense shops, to people all over the world who enjoy the use of Nippon Kodo incense.