Sake is often consumed as part of Shinto purification rituals (compare with the use of grape wine in the Christian Eucharist). Sakes served to gods as offerings prior to drinking are called Omiki or Miki (お神酒, 神酒). People drink Omiki with gods to communicate with them and to solicit rich harvests the following year. During World War II, kamikaze pilots drank sake prior to carrying out their missions.
In a ceremony called kagami biraki, wooden casks of sake are opened with mallets during Shinto festivals, weddings, store openings, sports and election victories, and other celebrations. This sake, called iwai-zake ("celebration sake"), is served freely to all to spread good fortune.
At the New Year many Japanese people drink a special sake called toso. Toso is a sort of iwai-zake made by soaking tososan, a Chinese powdered medicine, overnight in sake. Even children sip a portion. In some regions, the first sips of toso are taken in order of age, from the youngest to the eldest.
Sake makers or brewers are known as tōji, while workers in sake breweries are called kurabito.
While visiting the Saeki house and feeling disturbed by it, Kyoko, asked her real estate agent brother Tatsuya a bottle of Sake. After drinking it, Kyoko spat it out and ordered Tatsuya to always offer the Sake to any client interested in the house. Kyoko explained that refined Sake reacted naturally to the presence of spirits, and in case a person felt the Sake tasted strange, the house could be too dangerous for that person. However, Tatsuya himself drank but felt nothing strange.