Japanese soba noodles on New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve — Like in many other places around the world, it’s a time when most people in Japan spend at home with their family and close friends, reflecting back on the happenings in the past year while planning for the next.

When it comes to traditions of food, however, New Year’s in Japan can be an intriguing experience.

Toshi-koshi soba, or new year’s noodles

One of the customs that make Japanese New Year’s special is the practice of eating Toshi-koshi soba. Although the name of these noodles has a nice ring to it (with toshi, or the word for “year” rhyming with koshi, for “passing” or “crossing”), they’re often not that different from the usual bowl of soba that you’d get during any other month. So why do soba restaurants and supermarkets gear up for higher demand this time of year?

A bowl of buckwheat for a long, healthy, and peaceful life

One popular explanation behind the practice relates to the shape of soba noodles. Long, thin, and smooth, soba may signify hopes for a life with many years ahead. Another theory originates from the way goldsmiths in the olden days often used balls of soba to collect gold dust fallen off from their work. For this reason, some today believe that eating soba can bring in good fortune. Whatever your wishes may be, the tradition of enjoying soba is an easy — and delicious — way to welcome in the New Year!

Soba recipes

Enjoy delicious soba by making

with your favourite bowl.