A bowl of Toshikoshi-Soba on a white wooden board.

Eating toshikoshi-soba, or year-end noodles,  on the last night of the year is an 800-year-old tradition in Japan, which sees out the old year (an specifically any misfortunes that came with it). The buckwheat noodles used symbolise a number fo things, including a long and peaceful life, resiliency, and wealth. Eating them before midnight on the last day of the year encourages a good start for the upcoming year.

Special thanks to my friend (and fellow food blogging pioneer) Kat Oshiro Nishida for  her assistance with the original article.

Yield/Servings 4 servings

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  • 1.25 L water
  • 2-3 5 cm pieces of kombu (also known as sea tangle)
  • 1 cup loosely packed dried bonito flakes
  • 70 ml (4 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) light soy sauce
  • 70 ml (4 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) mirin
  • 70 ml (4 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) sake
  • 4 bundles (400 g, total weight) soba noodles (buckwheat noodles), cooked to 30 seconds to a minute less than indicated on packet instructions, drained
  • 3 to 4 green onions, finely sliced (green and white parts)
  • Optional toppings:
  • sliced kamaboko (cured and steamed fish cake)
  • shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven spice)
  • kakiage (a light tempura fritter)


    Start by making dashi:
  • Heat water and kombu over a medium flame. Just before it comes to a rolling boil, remove the kombu, otherwise the broth may be bitter or slimy.
  • Add bonito flakes and bring to a rapid simmer.Simmer for about 1 minute, then remove the pan the hob and let the bonito steep for 5 minutes before straining. !For the toshikoshi broth:
  • Add water enough to the dashi water to measure 1200 ml.
  • Return the dashi to the pot and add soy sauce, mirin, and sake. Boil for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, divide the soba noodles between four bowls and pour the hot broth overtop. Sprinkle with green onions and other toppings, if using.


To make this a vegetarian dish, use 1200 ml of shiitake mushroom stock instead of the dashi made with kombu and bonito.

What’s a spoon or a cup?

A version of this recipe appeared in my World of Food column for Grand Magazine (November-December 2018).

This recipe was mentioned as part of my appearance on CBC-KW’s Sounds of the Season, 2019.