What is sake?
Ever since our Japanese descendants brought wet rice cultivation over from China 5,000 years ago, rice has become the centre of our diet and plays an essential role in Japanese cooking. As a by-product of rice, the purely fermented beverage known as ‘sake’ has became the national alcohol of Japan for over 2,500 years.
As it was first produced within the Shinto shrines of Japan's oldest religion, sake is still a key element of many Shinto rituals and Japanese festivals. Sake is linked to Japanese culture in many ways and expresses the beauty of Japan’s nature, traditions, culture and spirit.
With the word ‘sake’ in Japanese simply meaning 'alcoholic beverage', natives commonly specify the drink as ‘nihonshu’ or more official term ‘seishu’.
Sake is often pronounced ‘sah-ki’ by Westerners with the correct pronunciation being ‘sah-keh’.
Natsuki Kikuya of the Museum of Sake ©