The Living Room: Fresh Fragrances

2019.02.06 Editor : D.S. TAG : Living Room

Usually when you think about interior design, it is all about the visual aspects, such as how things look when they’re arranged. However, the scent of a room is equally important in creating the most comfortable living space possible. In Japan, you can experience a wide range of fragrances derived from nature that have been specifically developed to eliminate unwanted odors. The following items blend traditional Japanese fragrances with unique designs and deodorizing properties to keep your home smelling fresh.

Mori-no-sumi-no-mori “Charcoal Forest” (Room Deodorizer) by Ascam.Co.Ltd

Shizuoka Prefecture is known as the tea capital of Japan, but it is also the home to an abundance nature. The wood shavings from the cedar and hinoki (cypress) trees in Shizuoka are used to produce ceramic charcoal, which offers natural deodorizing and humidity controlling properties. The use of charcoal as a deodorizer dates back to ancient Japan, when they were commonly used in shrines and temples to purify the air and ward off evil spirits.

The main concept behind this uniquely designed “Charcoal Forest” room deodorizer was inspired by the desire to protect the region’s forests. This is accomplished by utilizing the wood shavings from the thinning of the trees, which is an essential maintenance procedure for forests that enhances its future growth and production. Unlike most conventional room deodorizers, the unique design, by Japanese designer Keita Hanazawa, lets it blend into the room’s atmosphere while eliminating surrounding odors. The cone-shaped charcoal deodorizer comes in three sizes, and when arranged together, form a forest-like appearance. A special selective adsorption charcoal, which was jointly developed with the Industrial Research Institute of Shizuoka Prefecture, has the capability to absorb only unpleasant odors. You can also pour a small amount of aromatic scented oil onto the charcoal to enhance the fragrance. Place the room deodorizers by your windowsill or near an areas that have unwanted smells to create a refreshing and comfortable living space.


ShizuokaKataoka, Yoshida-cho, Haibara-gun.356-1

“Sumi no Rikyu” (Room Deodorizer) by Ascam Co., Ltd.

The “Sumi no Rikyu” room deodorizer was also made with ceramic charcoal. The charcoal blocks, which were designed to resemble traditional wagashi, a Japanese confection that is often served with tea, can be placed in various areas of your home to keep the air pure and smelling great. Also like the Charcoal Forest room deodorizer, you can pour scented oils onto them to further spread the wonderful scents throughout your home. Before I go to sleep, I pour a small amount of scented oil onto the three cones, and it instantly makes my entire room smell wonderful.


ShizuokaKataoka, Yoshida-cho, Haibara-gun.356-1

Japanese Pillar Candle “Honoka” by Kodaikokuya Co., Ltd.

This beautiful candle was made using techniques that have been passed down through six generations spanning more than150 years. Each candle is carefully handcrafted and made using a variety of plant-based oils and decorated with Echizen washi paper that is unique to Fukui Prefecture. The wick, which is usually made with thread in Western candles, is made from washi paper, which absorbs the wax and prevents dripping. The Honoka candle is also unique in that it burns inward rather than outward, eliminating the need for a candle stand. It is available in two different fragrances- refreshing cypress or chamomile. The comforting scent took me back to my first trip to a Japanese hot spring bath.

japanese aroma candle honoka

FukuiJunka, Fukui-shi.2-Chome 15-9

Japanese “Koh” Incense Sticks (Plum & Frankincense) by Shoyeido Incense Co.

Various types of incenses can be found in almost all countries and cultures, but the incenses that are native to Japan are extremely distinct and can be identified by their soft and warm fragrances. The use of incense in Japan can be traced back more than 1,400 years, and they still remain popular today for special occasions and everyday use. An area that is commonly associated with incense is Kyoto, the former capital of Japan and home to countless shrines, temples and other traditional architecture. It is here where these Japanese incense sticks, which are referred to as “koh” in Japanese, are perfected and produced.

The plum or “ume” scented incense stick is a sandalwood-based fragrance that is perfect for everyday use. The scent captures the sweet and sour qualities of a plum, giving the room a subtle yet aromatic atmosphere. The individual sticks are very thin and do not produce much smoke, so they can be left to burn for long periods of time. Each stick lasted approximately 30 minutes, leaving my living room with a fruity spring-like aroma. The packs come with 30 sticks and a round incense stand made of heat-resistant material. Placing it on a small dish on a mat will ensure safety and add a bit of style to the home.

The frankincense incense sticks are from the “Xiang Do” line, which offers 19 different fragrances developed by experienced blenders. Frankincense is known as a popular essential oil used in aromatherapy to help reduce stress and anxiety. Each pack comes with 20 sticks, with each stick burning for approximately 15 minutes. By contrast to the plum fragrance, which had a sweeter scent, the frankincense offered a more woody and rustic aroma that you might experience in a Japanese-style inn.

Japanese Incense Sticks Koh-Incense Plum

KyotoNakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shiThe RU east side on Karasuma Nijo

Editor Info


D.S. was born in America and has lived in Japan for 25 years. His interests include photography, video editing and traveling, and his favourite place in Japan is Kyoto.