Goku? Sho? What is Japanese unit of measurement? / how Japanese Sake has been measured


Goku? Sho? What is Japanese unit of measurement? / how Japanese Sake has been measured

Japanese Unit of measurement


You must hear measuring units such as Goku or Sho or Gou if you are in the Sake industry. Maybe, some of you know that 4 Gou is 720ml as a basic knowledge due to the size of bottle and its name.

Same as “mile” instead of “meter” or “pound” instead of “liter”, there is Japanese way of counting volume, length or area.


(Sekigahara War Byobuzu)

As time goes by, Japanese government try to tax people and introduced measurement systems. In the era of Sengoku(1467~) or Edo(1603~), the standard of measurement fixed. In terms of volume, the size of wooden cup called Masu has been fixed and Shou or Gou has been used widely to measure.犀利士


Japanese Volume measurement


The biggest unit of volume measurement is 石(Goku). Goku is used to show the level of wealth of the town or city, but how can I know the wealth of the city?

A long time ago, Japanese people grow rice and live with rice field, and the amount of rice eat once is measured by 合 (Gou). So, 1 Gou of rice means the amount of rice people eat at 1 dining. We eat 3 times a day for about 360 days, so…


1 Gou × 3 times a day × 360 = 1080 Gou


so we needed approximately 1000 Gou of rice to live for a year. 1000 Gou = 1 Goku, so 1 Goku means the amount of rice 1 person need to live for a year. At that time, a city or area was governed by generals, if we say 1000 Goku for one area this general can feed 1000 people.

Today, we use Goku to show the size of breweries and it is because of the reason above.

Conversion table of volume


Especially in Japanese Sake industry, we use this Japanese measurement system so it is better for you to know about how to convert the Japanese Unit to Liter unit.

For your convenience ikki prepared the table for you so please refer to the table below;



Did you understand about Japanese Measurement System?


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