- Rice wine. It is universally used as a ritual offering to the shrine and then distributed among the participants. Carefully prepared forms of sake often with special names (e.g. kuroki) are offered to the kami in solemn rites and the consecrated offering is then drunk by priests and participants. In addition larger containers of sake are often donated by local businesses etc. as offerings and contributions to a matsuri. Offering of sake to the kami is usually followed by the consumption of liberal quantities of sake by participants during the more energetic and entertaining parts of a matsuri. The drinking of sake is always in practice an important element in festivals but in some cases sake-drinking is the official theme of the festival itself. An example is the Shirakawa-mura doburoku matsuri, held on October 10-19 at the Shirakawa Hachiman-gu, Gifu. 'Doburoku' is the local home-brew, drunk to celebrate the harvest along with displays of banners, an eight-legged lion dance (shishi-mai), kyogen performances and a parade of mikoshi. In the niramekko obisha (staring-game contest) held at the Komagata jinja, Chiba on January 20th two sake drinkers drink while staring at each other; the first one to laugh is the loser. Several shrines are dedicated to the kami of sake-brewing, most important among them is the Matsuno-o taisha in Kyoto.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.