In the Edo period (1603-1868), people living in the gorgeous city of Edo (now Tokyo) used to call what has brough from Kansai areas including Kyoto and Osaka prefectures “kudarimono”(kudaru meaning go down), so the sake brought from Kansai was called kudarizake. Kansai areas in those days were rich in rice and water, which eventually improved the brewing techniques so that brewers used to produce sophisticated sake that could not be seen in Edo areas. Therefore, it was popular among people in Edo and more premium than sake produced in other areas. Kenbishi, being the gozenshu (sake brewed for Shogun and territorial lord daimyo) for Shogun, was also one of kudarizake.
Japanese say kudaranai for trivial or meaningless things, which is said to come from sake that does not worth kudarizake or the one that does not come from Kansai (but locally produced) = kudaranai- sake.
70% to 90% of the areas producing kudarizake are around Itami and Nada, which is called Sessen Junigo, though this varies depending on the times. At first, the barreled sake was carried by horse, but Kansai merchants changed to use vessel in order to shorten the time of transportation and to increase the transportation volume. They started to use a cargo vessel called higaki kaisen. Soon there appeared a vessel for sake called taru kaisen. Due to the weather, it took two months at the most but 10 days on the average by the end of Edo period to get to Edo by the vessel being rocked by waves. In the early Edo period, when speaking of kudarizake, it used to be produced mainly in Itami and Ikeda, but with the development of marine transportation, most of sake came to be made in Nada along the coast.