At Gekkeikan, our collection includes traditional sake tools and equipment that were actually used for making sake during the Meiji (1868-1912), Taisho (1912-1926) and Showa (1926-1989) periods. With the development of science and technology, sake-making became modernized, and traditional oke (containers), taru (barrels) and kai (paddles) gradually fell out of use, being replaced by ones using new materials.
A lot of old sake-making equipment has been lost through this modernization process, but 6,120 items we hold were registered as Tangible Cultural Assets by the city of Kyoto on June 1, 1985. Some 400 of these are on display at the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, visitors can see for themselves how Fushimi sake is made and learn its history. The items on display trace the process of brewing sake, from washing and immersing the rice (collecting sake-brewing water from the wells, which is used to wash and then soak the rice), steaming the rice (steaming the rice which forms the main ingredient of sake), creating the koji malt (generating the enzymes which promote the decomposition of the ingredients needed to make sake, such as converting starch into sugars), creating the seed mash (growing the yeast that ferments the alcohol), preparing the moromi main mash (adding koji, water, and steamed rice to the seed mash in three separate stages), and extracting the sake (compressing and filtering the moromi once fermentation has completed, and separating out the sake and sake lees).