- Main lore areas
All over the prefecture
- Main ingredients used
- History/origin/related events
Soba is a typical local cuisine, so much so that Nagano Prefecture is known for its "Shinshu soba" (buckwheat noodles). Soba has been cultivated as an agricultural product in highland areas where the cool climate makes it difficult to grow rice and wheat. In high altitude areas around 700m above sea level, where morning mist hangs in the air, delicious soba is produced because the mist gently protects the buckwheat, which is vulnerable to frost. The area is also famous as the birthplace of "soba-kiri" (thin noodle-like buckwheat noodles), and is dotted with many soba specialty and specialty areas such as "Togakushi-soba" and "Kaida-soba. Togakushi soba, also known as "frost buckwheat soba," has a delicious flavor and is made with cold water. The traditional buckwheat noodle making method of "single stick" and "round stretching" is used, and the small portions are called "Bocchi-zakari". Wasabi, an essential condiment for soba, is produced in Azumino City, which accounts for more than 90% of the prefecture's production, making it the largest producer of wasabi in Japan. Wasabi, grown in melted snow water from the Northern Alps, is characterized by its smooth texture and mild richness, which not only makes it spicy but also enhances the sweetness of soba.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Although soba is eaten at any time of the year, it is harvested twice a year, in spring and fall, and freshly harvested "new soba" is considered the tastiest. New soba in summer is called "natsu-shin" and new soba in fall is called "aki shin," and it is generally said that soba in fall is tastier with better aroma, color, and flavor. Shinshu's new soba is available from mid-October to early November.
- How to eat
Soba is usually eaten in soba-tsuyu (buckwheat sauce) with green onions and wasabi (Japanese horseradish), but "Takato-soba" in Ina is made by dipping soba in soba-tsuyu (buckwheat sauce) with squeezed daikon radish juice and grilled miso. In Nagano Prefecture, where soba is grown, there are various ways of eating soba, depending on the region or production area.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
Nagano Prefecture has the largest number of soba noodle shops in Japan, and soba is available in every town. It can be purchased at local souvenir stores, and is available not only in Nagano Prefecture, but also in supermarkets and various stores nationwide as "Shinshu soba".