On the New Year many Japanese people drink a special sake called toso (A sake made by combining several medicinal herbs). Toso is a sort of iwai-zake (celebration sake) made by soaking tososan, a Chinese powdered medicine, overnight in sake. Even children sip a portion.

This tradition was adopted from China by Japanese aristocrats during the Heian era (794-1185 AD) . Three sizes of cup, called sakazuki (see picture), are used starting with the smallest, and passed round with each family member or guest taking a sip. The head of the household usually takes the first drink. The first cup drunk would be made with tososan, and the second and third cups with different varieties of sake. Photo: 日本語: 屠蘇器 / Midorisyu