Sake during the Nara (710-784 AD) & Heian (794-1185 AD) Periods

Sake production was established by the Japanese Imperial court from the Nara period (710-784 AD) to Heian period (794-1185 AD).
According to the “Engi-Shiki” stipulated in 927 AD, the administrative office “Sakenotsukasa” was established along with a brewing system. Sake brewing technology evolved rapidly as well, some are introduced below.

Gosyu: Prepared in the winter time, pressed 4 times. Clear sake sweet in flavor and low in acidity.

Goisyu: Prepared in early fall. The low volume of Goisyu produced is half the volume of Gosyu produced.

Reisyu: Prepared using sake instead of water. The original form of sake that later became sweet sake enjoyed mid-summer, mirin (sweet Japanese cooking sake), and Shirozake.

Sansyusou: Sweet sake prepared with malted barley and malted rice, non-glutinous rice and glutinous millet.

5.Shiroki, Kuroki: Sake used for the Niinamesai festival (ceremonial offering of newly harvested rice). Kuroki contains kusaski ashes (from burnt grass or wood), while shiroki does not contain the ashes.

Gosyusou...High-end sake brewed with great care, used by the imperial court for important ceremonies and consumed by the Emperor (1~4).


延長5年 (927) に定められた「延喜式(えんぎしき)」には「造酒司(さけのつかさ)」という役所が設けられたとあり、醸造体制が設けられた。酒造技術も一段と進んで行った。以下に一部を紹介する。

1、御酒 (ごしゅ):冬に仕込、4回しおり(搾ること)、甘口で酸の少ない澄み酒。
2、御井酒 (ごいしゅ):初秋の仕込、製成量は御酒の1/2と少ない。
3、醴酒 (れいしゅ):汲水の代りに酒を使う、盛夏用の甘い酒、みりん・白酒の原型。
4、三種糟 (さんしゅそう):麦芽・米麹を併用、うるち、モチアワを用いたみりん系の酒
5、白酒・黒酒 (しろき・くろき):新嘗祭(にいなめさい)用の酒、久佐木灰(くさきばい)を入れたものが黒酒(くろき)。入れない方が白酒(しろき)、共に大篩(おおふるい)でろ過した。

御酒糟(ごしゅそう)・・・特に入念に醸造した高級酒。宮中の重要儀式や天皇の小宴用 (1~4)