Japanese Food Culture 3-Sake

The beginning of sake

There are various theories about the history of sake (nihonshu).

Sake appears in Gishiwajinden in the 3rd century (201-300), but it is unknown what kind of liquor it was made from.

After that, sake appeared in "Nihonshoki" completed in 720, but it seems that it has not been clarified what it was like.


In 700, there are two theories.

In the sense of "liquor" made from rice, I think it is the closest to the current liquor manufacturing method.


One theory is that around 700, you chew rice in your mouth, spit it out into a container once, and leave it overnight or more to smell the sake, then the sake is complete. It is a primitive brewing method that ferments with saliva and wild yeast in the air, and is said to be distributed in East Asia, South Pacific, and Central and South America.


Another theory is that at the same time, around 700, the dried rice of the carry-on food got wet with water and mold grew, so it was used to make sake.

This is a brewing method that utilizes the saccharification effect of koji mold and is similar to the manufacturing method of modern sake.


Since then, sake has been improved, sake brewing techniques have evolved, and today's delicious sake is born, and we are benefiting from our predecessors.

Today, it has become popular sake, which is called "Japanese Sake" not only in Japan but also overseas.


(Reference: Wikipedia)


Ingredients for sake

The main ingredients are rice (sake rice = sakamai), koji, and water.



Tools for drinking sake

There are various ways to say a sake cup, such as sakazuki, ochoko, guinomi, and so on.

There are various shapes and materials of sake cups.

Sakazuki, which has a wide mouth, is used when you want to enjoy the aroma of sake. In particular, it is this type of sake cup that drinks hot sake (warmed sake).


Left: Sakazuki Right: Tokkuri


Above photo: "chirori" is used to warm sake.


Sake may be warmed with a tokkuri.

Warmed sake is called "atsukan".


Introduction of sake

There are more than 1,400 sake breweries all over Japan . It is said that there are more than 10,000 brands of sake.

You can drink sake with different tastes depending on the area and the sake brewery.


Which sake is the most delicious? Is it popular? Many people ask me, but I can't answer in one word because each person has different taste preferences for sake.


However, sake introduced in the media, sake that has won the prestigious award of sake, and sake with low production volume may be traded at a high price or become a big boom.














When I came to Japan, foreign dignitaries were drinking "YURI".






左:大七 皆伝=だいしち かいでん=DAISHICHI KAIDEN


右:会津中将=あいづ ちゅうじょう=AIZU CHUJYOU


Introducing an Unusual Way to Drink Sake

「Fugu no hirezake(Swellfish fin Sake)」

Grill the fins of the blowfish before adding them to the sake.

This way, the fragrant aroma of the puffer fish is added to the sake, making it more delicious.