"Komodarus" Sake cask - at Itsukushima Shrine
Originally Sake was only consumed as part of Shinto purification rituals since the kami (the gods) only accept offerings of pure people in a clean surrounding. Therefore the monasteries, shrines and temples all over the world were in need for some sort of alcohol to purify the holy district.
These casks of sake are the traditional containers used for storage and easy transport via sea and land.
2008-11-24 # 436 on Explore
This photo was taken in the famous Itsukushima-jinsha shrine on Miyajima island well known for it's beautiful red torii in the sea. The shrine is one of the holiest in Japan and hosts some of the holiest kami (gods) of Japan. Retaining the purity of the shrine is so important that since 1878, no deaths or births were permitted at the shrine and lots of alcohols, sake, was needed to keep it clean.