The Origin of Sake


Rice farming began around 10,000 years ago in China’s Chang Jiang Valley, and was introduced to Japan about 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. Rice became a sacred crop that can be transformed into precious sake and dedicated to the gods. In Japanese, the temple area of the forehead is called “komekami” meaning rice (kome) chewing (kami/kamu). The name is derived from the fact that the temple area moves when we chew food, and rice is the staple food in Japan.

Sake originated in ancient Japan, when people chewed rice, spat it out into a pot, and stored it, where it turned into sake due to the effect of natural yeast. Amylase in the saliva saccharifies starch, and wild yeast feeds on the resulting sugar, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. This is different from wine which is made by the natural fermentation of fruit such as grapes, and is regarded as the original form of artificial brewing.

At Japanese Cuisine Yamazato, in addition to the well-known clear sake, many other types are offered, including sparkling sake, cloudy sake, and hire-sake served with a toasted blowfish fin and set aflame to enhance the aroma. Enjoy the various types of sake that bring out the best from the seasonal Japanese dishes.

Japanese Cuisine Yamazato
Sommelier, Masao Okada