Why do Japanese eat SOBA for New Year’s Eve?

Toshikoshi-Soba is one of unique and traditional customs for New Year’s Eve in Japan. This soba is made with buckwheat noodles, hot dashi broth and a variety of toppings. This simple soba noodle soup symbolizes cutting off any hardships of the past year and welcoming good luck for the new year.

The history of this curious tradition goes back around 800 years, to the Kamakura period, and it all started at one Buddhist temple that gave soba to poor people on New Year’s. In the Edo period, these New Year’s noodles, or Toshikoshi soba, eventually turned into a cultural event done by people all over Japan – even today.

But why do people eat soba instead of Ramen or Udon? To say it with two little words: good fortune. Compared to ramen and other pasta enjoyed in Japan, soba is rather firm to the bite, and easy to break while eating. Thus, soba symbolize “breaking off the old year.” Their thin, long shape is also synonymous with a long and healthy life!


Which soba do you want to try 2023?

There are so many kinds of sobas in Japan. While soba can be easily found all over Japan, soba tends to be more popular in rural areas, and especially in regions where the soil is suitable for growing buckwheat. Soba produced in some regions are more famous than others.

Izushi soba is one of the best sobas in Japan!

Izushi Soba is produced in Izushi Town, Toyooka City, Hyogo Prefecture, with a history and tradition of 300 years. In 1706, when the Matsudaira clan, lords of the Izushi domain, and the Sengoku clan, lords of the Ueda castle in Shinshu, were transferred to another country, the techniques of soba craftsmen were introduced, and today Izushi Soba is known as one of the best soba in Japan.

Izushi Soba noodles are made from carefully selected ingredients and finished with delicious water from Izushi. Today, Izushi Soba produces a wide variety of soba including semi-nama, nama (raw), and dried noodles. Tanakaya Foods has won the Monde Selection Gold Award, the International Quality Award in 2011, the Hyogo Prefecture version of HACCP in 2014, and the store Shokaku Tanakaya was listed in the Michelin Guide Hyogo edition in 2016. Please enjoy Izushi soba and have a good year!

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