Sake History

Nihonshu (Sake)

In ancient Japan, Nihonshu is exceptionally used as sacred alcohol called Omiki at religious ceremonies by selected nobles only. Later, people in general started consuming Nihonshu at special occasions along Shinto such as the New Year celebration, wedding ceremony, festival and funeral. In recent years, Nihonshu became more popular widely among the general public from young women to old men. In last decades, Nihonshu is exported to overseas and enjoyed by lots of people worldwide.


In the old time, Kyushu island (Southwest island of Japan), it was very difficult to make good Sake under its warm climate. In 16th century, a spirit and distilling method were introduced from Ryukyu (Okinawa) and Asia through the trading. Shochu made from this area’s local products such as sweet potato and barley was initiated under new introduced distilling method of alcohol. Recently, new types of Shochu made from rice, brown sugar and buckwheat were invented.


In early 15th century, distilling alcohol was introduced to Ryukyu (Okinawa at present) from Siam (Thailand at present) through their trading. In late 15th century, a distilling method of alcohol was also introduced to Ryukyu and their own style spirit Awamori was invented as the oldest distilled alcohol beverage in Japanese history. Awamori was imported to Japan and China and loved for its unique taste. Awamori and its method of production were introduced to Kyushu and it was the origin of Kyushu style spirit, Shochu.