Sake has played a central role in Japanese life and culture for the past 2,000 years, and the knowledge and techniques involved in sake brewing have spread to every corner of the nation. In fact, sake is such an integral part of the Japanese diet that having some knowledge of it can add to one’s understanding of Japanese history, culture, and society, as well as of the social environment in Japan today.
Made primarily from rice, sake is a fermented beverage brewed using koji, yeast and water. It has an alcohol content of from 13% to 16%. The quality of water used in brewing sake is incredibly important. Brewers take advantage of the various kinds of natural water available in Japan to make excellent sake. The producers of shimizu-no-mai are proud to create their artisan sake with what is considered to be the purest water since the time of the Samurai.
Though the brewing process and availability of sake has changed over the years, sake's important role in Japanese culture has not. From its earliest beginnings sake has been a drink of reverence, family, and friendship, consumed to mark important occasions. Because it is meant to be enjoyed with friends and family, tradition holds that a person must never pour their own sake; instead another person pours for you, and you do the same for them. For thousands of years sake has been a major part of Japanese life, and its popularity is now increasing on the international stage.