Japan has a wealth of very old places that, whether you have lived there or just visited, seem to stay with you. You’ll always return to Japan in your thoughts and look forward to returning. You will miss the politeness, the clean, simple aesthetic, the culture and the food. The fragrances of Japan are subtle, natural and serene.
Many homes in Japan have a private garden, and the cities set aside areas for public gardens and parks. Cherry blossoms are probably the flowers most associated with Japan – delicate, pink, and graceful. However this iconic Japanese symbol actually has such a mild smell, it's barely noticeable. The attraction of the Sakura is more in its beauty, not so much its scent. ‘Japanese cherry blossom’ fragrance is often a fantasy based on the beauty of the blooms. Luckily, Japan has many other fragrant flowers that are a strong reminder of that country and culture, such as jasmine, wisteria, apricot blossoms and gardenia.
Ecoya has a Sweet Pea & Jasmine scented candle that’s like an evening in a tranquil zen garden. Glasshouse Candles has Kyoto - Camellia & Lotus and Leura – Jasmine Blossoms. Leura is a light, lovely floral reminiscent of a Japanese summer and jasmine green tea.
Many people who live in or visit Japan remember the woody smell that always seems to be in the background. The scents of wood houses, forests, teak and bamboo furniture and tatami floors are always present, and they are almost unnoticeable in everyday life until you leave and the scents disappear. Archipelago Botanicals' Bamboo Teak is just the right kind of light and subtle woody scent, combining antique wood and fresh, green bamboo. Aquiesse Candles has a similar fragrance, Bamboo Teakwood, that is a little brighter. It’s an Asian teak and bamboo scent, with a tiny hint of a garden in the violet.
Kodo is the Japanese art of scent appreciation. Stopping to smell the roses—or the incense or the jasmine—can be almost a meditative experience in Japan. Incense burning is very connected to Japanese culture, and the smell of it is a strong reminder of tradition and values. Most Japanese incense is very fine quality, and it is made mostly of sandalwood or agarwood, with other elements like clove, star anise and patchouli.
Aquiesse Candles has two scents that hint at fine incense – Black Sandalwood and White Pear Agarwood. The sandalwood and agarwood are woodsy background notes, but are enough to ignite your memories. Neither scent is too feminine despite light floral components. Voyager Candles, too, has a scent, Imperial, where the lesser known notes of incense take the forefront.
Japan is a complex country with so many scents and so many memories. Find the ones that resonate most strongly for you – or buy them all!