It is not entirely clear when alcohol was first produced in Japan, however, it is thought that something similar to sake was being brewed from rice as early as the Yayoi Period around 200 AD. The oldest documentation talks of people drinking and dancing during a funeral ceremony. By 900 AD, the emperor of Japan edited "Engi-shiki", describing the brewing process in detail.
By the 15th and 16th centuries, an initial firing process and the 3-step input were introduced to the process of brewing. These innovations were said to have been implemented at the temple of Nara.
In the 16th century, wooden tubs replaced earthenware pots in the process, and the amount to product exponentially increased. In the late 19th century, there were 27,500 breweries in Japan. The biggest breweries resided in Nada (Kobe) and Fushimi (Kyoto); an incredible amount of sake was carried from the west to the east (Edo) by sea.