We visited Yamashina district of Kyoto City and purchased a Tosoki (屠蘇器) set. It is a cup tray plate set for serving Toso (屠蘇).
Toso , or o-toso, is spiced medicinal sake traditionally drunk during New Year celebrations in Japan. Toso is drunk to flush away the previous year’s maladies and to aspire to lead a long life. For generations it has been said that “if one person drinks this his family will not fall ill; if the whole family does no-one in the village will fall ill”, and has been a staple part of New Year’s osechi cuisine in Japan. Toso is made by combining several medicinal herbs to form tososan (屠蘇散), a spicy mixture, which is then soaked in sake or mirin. Three sizes of cup, called sakazuki (盃) (see picture), are used starting with the smallest, and passed round with each family member or guest taking a sip. Drinking rituals differ by region, but in formal situations would proceed from youngest to eldest. The tradition of drinking toso at the New Year began in the Tang Dynasty in China, and was adopted by Japanese aristocrats during the Heian period (平安).