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Sake offered on a sanbo altar

Omiki (お神酒) is an offering of sake or other alcoholic drinks offered to gods in Japanese Shinto.[1][2][3]

Sake is often consumed as part of Shinto purification rituals.[4] People drink omiki with gods to communicate with them and to solicit rich harvests the following year.


The word omiki is spelled using the three characters (お神酒). The first o () is an honorific prefix. The second character () refers to kami, a kind of spirit or deity in Japanese spirituality. This is normally read as kami, but in certain compounds it is read as mi, as we also see in the derivation of the word miko (巫女, "shrine maiden"). The third character () is read as sake when used alone, but in certain compounds of ancient derivation it is read as ki. The compound omiki is very old and dates back to Old Japanese.[5][full citation needed][6][full citation needed][7][full citation needed] There is a word kushi (くし) in the Kojiki of 712, spelled using this same kanji , connected to the word kushi (奇し, "mystical") in reference to the effects of sake.[7]


Sake is an essential part of Shinsen, and is offered to the gods during rituals.[8] The meaning of this ceremony is to receive the sake that has been offered to the gods and in which the spirit resides, and to eat and drink the same food as the gods as well as other food offerings.[9] Some shrines also serve sake after ninenmairi.

Some breweries produce sake specifically to be put on kamidanas.

Types and brewing methods

There are many different types of sake, such as White Sake (白酒, Shiroki), black sake (黒酒, Kuroki), clear sake (清酒, Sumizake), and cloudy sake (濁酒, Nigorizake), and many different brewing methods. The "ki ()" of White Sake (白酒, Shiroki) and black sake (黒酒, Kuroki) is the ancient name of sake, and is also written as "White Sake (白貴, Shiroki)" and "Black Sake (黒貴, Kuroki)". Black sake is also called Kuromiki (黒御酒).[10][1]

The origin of amazake dates back to the Kofun period , and there is a description in " Nihon Shoki " about Amazake, which is said to be the origin of amazake.[11]

According to the Engishiki, white sake is brewed from rice grown in Kanda and strained as it is, while black sake is made by adding burned ashes of Clerodendrum trichotomum roots to white sake and coloring it black.[12][full citation needed]

Today, a combination of clear sake and cloudy sake (Nigori) is often used as a substitute for white and black sake. In the past, sacred sake was home-brewed by Shinto shrines or Ujigamis.[citation needed] Nowadays, however, due to restrictions in the Liquor Tax Law, Ise Grand Shrines are required to obtain a license to brew Sakes and a Nigori from the tax office. Ise Grand Shrine, which has a license to brew sake and a permit from the tax office to brew doburoku.[citation needed]

In Japan, it has been customary since ancient times to make doburoku and offer it to the gods to pray for a good harvest in the coming year, and even today, more than 40 shrines hold Doburoku Matsuri, etc.[13] As a rule, it is forbidden to take doburoku out of the premises of a Shinto shrine.[13]

In Kumamoto Prefecture, the Katō Shrine next to Kumamoto Castle in Kumamoto City uses the local tradition of Akumochizake as its sacred wine.[14][verification needed]

Omiki other than Japanese sake

At Dazaifu Tenmangū in Fukuoka, Dazaifu City, Umeshu Plum Wine (produced by Nikka Whisky Distilling's Moji factory) is used as a sacred wine in honor of the legend of Tobi Ume.[15][full citation needed]

In areas where Grape cultivation is popular, Wine is dedicated as a sacred wine at the Ichinomiya Asama Shrine in Yamanashi Prefecture, Fuefuki City, and Osaka Prefecture,[16] and Red wine is served as a sacred wine on the third day of the New Year at the Konda Hachimangu [ja] in Habikino City, at the shrine it is called Hinomaru Miki (日の丸神酒) because the red wine pooled on a white plate appears similar to the Japanese flag.[17]


There is a theory that the custom of offering white sake at Hina Matsuri was created in the Edo period (1603-1867).[citation needed]

Since the sake is usually offered to the altar in pairs, it is used as a metaphor for the happiness of married couples, and is also used in rakugo storytelling. The ornaments made of split bamboo and are inserted into the sake tokuri are called mikiguchi.[18]

In Okinawa Prefecture, which is part of the former Ryukyu Kingdom, and the Amami region of Kagoshima Prefecture, a unique rice-based beverage called "Miki" has been handed down and is also sold commercially as a soft drink. It is made by adding sugar to crushed rice and fermenting it naturally.[19]

Related Items


  1. ^ a b Brian Bocking (30 September 2005). A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Routledge. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-135-79738-6.
  2. ^ 字通, 精選版 日本国語大辞典,デジタル大辞泉,普及版. "神酒とは". コトバンク (in Japanese). Retrieved 2022-02-26.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "神酒(おみき)とは何? Weblio辞書". Retrieved 2022-02-26.
  4. ^ Thomas P. Kasulis (August 2004). Shinto. University of Hawaii Press. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-8248-6430-9.
  5. ^ Daijirin
  6. ^ Daijisen
  7. ^ a b Kokugo Dai Jiten
  8. ^ 國學院大學日本文化研究所 (2003). 日本の食とこころ - そのルーツと行方. 慶友社. ISBN 4-87449-233-9.
  9. ^ editor., 沼部春友, 1938- author, editor. 茂木貞純, 1951- author (2011). 新神社祭式行事作法教本 [Shinjinja Matsuri Style Practice Manual] (in Japanese). 戎光祥出版. pp. 260–266. ISBN 978-4-86403-033-5. OCLC 705869854. ((cite book)): |last= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ 日本国語大辞典, 精選版. "黒御酒とは". コトバンク (in Japanese). Retrieved 2022-02-26.
  11. ^ "甘酒|森永製菓". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2022-02-26.
  12. ^ Engishiki (延喜式)
  13. ^ a b "酒類総合研究所情報誌「お酒のはなし」第9号" (PDF). 酒類総合研究所. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-03-04. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  14. ^ "連載総集編 酒おもしろ小話@". Retrieved 2022-06-05.
  15. ^ ニッカウヰスキー(旧協和発酵→アサヒ協和酒類製造)門司工場製。梅の実は境内で収穫し御祓いを受けたものを使い、これを焼酎のラインで梅酒として製造する。
  16. ^ 淺間神社 (2016-10-04). "甲斐国一宮 浅間神社: 山梨県立博物館企画展に浅間神社の奉納ワイン棚が登場します!". 甲斐国一宮 浅間神社. Archived from the original on 2020-10-21. Retrieved 2021-12-01.
  17. ^ author (2019-01-02). "誉田八幡宮の初詣で「日の丸神酒」を頂いて来ました。~羽曳野市 アクセス~". 南河内に何がある?|南河内の観光スポットを紹介 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2022-02-26. ((cite web)): |last= has generic name (help)
  18. ^ 神酒口 つがる工芸店(2018年1月22日閲覧)
  19. ^ "「ミキ」を徹底研究してみた。→奥深さの沼にはまった。 「てみた。」16". 琉球新報Style (in Japanese). Retrieved 2022-06-05.