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Sake is a distinctly Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice. It is woven deeply into the cultural identity of this island nation. It has been used in purification rituals, offered to deities, and played an important part in religious and secular ceremonies. And of course Sake is enjoyed for the pure pleasure it offers as a stand-alone beverage or as a fine accompaniment to many varied types of food.
The first recorded mention of alcohol in Japan is in the 3rd century Chinese text, The Book of Wei. But something we might recognize today as true Sake came into being by the Asuka period (538 to 710 ad). The basic methods for modern Sake production were developed later during the Muromachi era (1392 to 1573 ad) by monks in the Buddhist temples of Nara, Kyoto, and Osaka.