Two hundred prestigious guests experienced a traditional Japanese Sake Ceremony, set on a stage in the heart of the restaurant, accompanied by the hotel’s owner Mr Ian Livingstone.
Also known under the name of “Kagami-biraki”, this ceremony is performed at celebratory events in which the lid of the sake barrel is broken open with a wooden mallet and the sake is served to everyone present. Kagami refers to the lid of the sake barrel which, due to its round shape, is a symbol of harmony and biraki means “to open”, welcoming in good fortune.
The kagami-biraki is then followed by the distribution of mochi, “soft round rice cakes” cut up in 2 pieces to commemorate both the New Year and the start of a new departure in life or business. In the past, samurai households would welcome in the New Year by making an offering to the gods of a stack of mochi placed on a kamidana (a small Shinto altar usually set on a shelf over a lintel) to grant good health and fortune.
Even today, this custom is largely observed and has become an increasingly popular way of launching company foundation events, wedding receptions, house-warming parties and other important celebrations.