日本酒を語る

Talk about sake

2020.03.10

Term system

Ochoko

The most common sake vessel used over drinks is ochoko, a small sake cup. The word choko comes from various Japanese roots including the meaning of “a little thing” and “plain”. By the way, choko includes a kanji (Chinese characters) meaning a boar, but it is said the word has nothing to do with a boar. Ochoko used to be a small dishware for sauce-dressed dishes, etc. served in a honzen cuisine established as a highly ritualized form of serving food (,where prescribed dishes are carefully arranged and served on legged trays). However, from mid-Edo period (approx. 1700-1750), it came to be mainly used as a sake vessel. Since then, ochoko has meant a sake vessel small enough to drink up easily. Most of ochokos are likely to have 18-90ml capacity and are made of pottery, porcelain, glass, tin and others, with various materials and designs, including the one made of bamboo that is just cut crosswise by making use of the joint. The well-known ochoko used for sake tasting is called kikichoko with the capacity of 36ml. It has blue double rings at the bottom in white, which are generally called janome (snake eye) and the cup is designed elaborately to help assess the clarity of sake by looking at the white part and the gloss of sake by looking at the blue rings. A cup used for professional tasting at sake breweries is called honkikichoko with a capacity of 180ml.