When displayed near a Shinto shrine, sake barrels are known as 'kazaridaru', which means “decoration barrels.” The barrels on display are empty, at least in physical terms. Spiritually, they’re chock full of significance.
“In Japan, sake has always been a way of bringing our gods and people together,” Tetsuo Hasuo of the Japan Sake Brewers Association explains. “In some of this country’s oldest texts the word used for sake is miki, written with the characters for ‘god’ and ‘wine.’ People would go a shrine festival and be given rice wine to drink, and they would feel happy and closer to the gods.”
- Gavin Roberts
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