Traditional Japanese New Year Noodles: Toshikoshi Soba

Today is the last day of 2020. This year has been tough worldwide, but I am genuinely grateful to have welcomed today with safe health.

I'd like to introduce you to the Japanese custom of eating a special kind of noodle dish on New Year's Eve.

Soba is the Japanese name for buckwheat. It usually refers to thin noodles made from buckwheat flour. Toshikoshi soba, "year-crossing noodle," is a traditional Japanese noodle bowl dish eaten on the evening of December 31st. 

Toshikoshi Soba

Eating Toshikoshi soba expresses the following hopes for the new year.

1. Longevity
You can eat it, hoping that you can live it as thin and long as soba.

2. Luck
Soba is easy to cut, so it is said that the new year will come after cutting off the hardships and bad luck of this year.

3. Prosperity
Old gold and silver craftsmen used buckwheat flour to collect gold and silver fragments scattered during their making process. It was said that "collecting gold with soba" would increase your fortune.

4. Health & Safety
Even if the buckwheat is exposed to the wind and rain, it will recover if exposed to sunlight. We hope to be strong and resilient like soba.

The ingredients contained in Toshikoshi soba also has a meaning that expresses hope for the new year. For example, shrimp tempura is a symbol of longevity, and fried tofu is a symbol of prosperity.

Hoping that next year will be a lucky one, we also ate Toshikoshi soba.

We hope you all have a happy new year !!


Photo by Pui Pui via Wikimedia Commons + edits.