Soba: Japan's Beloved Noodle *RERUN
Soba noodles made from buckwheat flour have been a part of the Japanese diet even longer than rice. Today, we will take a journey across Japan to sample soba. In the past, soba repeatedly saved people from starvation as buckwheat grows in poor soil and can be harvested in just 75 days. Soba has long remained a familiar part of Japanese cuisine and culture. Even if you're low on cash, or having trouble getting along with others, a simple bowl of soba can help you feel better.

Horokanai: A Town Where Snow Falls in Winter and Summer

Winter temperatures in Horokanai are very cold, sometimes falling to below minus 30 degrees Celsius. This Hokkaido town is Japan's largest producer of buckwheat, a crop that produces summer blooms. The fields full of white flowers have given rise to a local saying "in Horokanai, snow falls not only in winter, but also in summer." In early September, the town hosts a two-day Soba Harvest Festival, which attracts 50,000 people to this town of just 1,500 residents.

Soba and Local Identity

The people of Edo, Tokyo's name during Japan's samurai era, love to eat soba. The number of soba restaurants in Edo began to increase about 150 years after the founding of the Edo shogunate. As the population of people born and brought up in Edo increased, they began to develop pride in their local culture. Today, the city is home to around 5,500 soba restaurants. In samurai days, there were already around 4,000 such establishments.

Buckwheat: A Local Crop

In Nagawa in Nagano Prefecture, 14 hamlets are scattered throughout the mountains at an altitude of 1,200m. Local people grew buckwheat in mountain fields through slash and burn agriculture. Faced with steep hillsides, they carved out the slopes to create terraces. Sobamochi was a dish that was always served for dinner. Add hot water to the buckwheat flour, mix well, shape the dough into rounds and cook. People dip it in soy sauce with leek and sugar when they eat.