Japanese Language Blog

What Japanese eat on New Years Eve Posted by on Dec 31, 2014 in Culture

When New Years Eve comes, there is one and only traditional Japanese food we all eat in Japan. It is called Toshikoshi soba. (年越しそば、としこしそば). It is a noodle bowl that we all eat on December 31st every year. Soba is known for a tasty healthy noodle, but the purpose of eating the soba noodle on this day is to get rid of all the bad lucks and unfortunate evens that you had for that year and to prepare yourself, free from all unwanted things, for the New Year. Soba noodles are easily cut and eaten, which symbolizes the fact that you are getting rid of every negative circumstances from your life before you start the New Year.

People either go out to eat Toshikoshi soba (年越しそば、としこしそば) or cook one at home. You can customize the way you want to eat. People often add Kakiage (掻き揚げ) or Tempura (天ぷら) to the noodle. My favorite is to add Shrimp Tempura as well as green onions.

At some of the popular restaurants, people line up to eat Toshikoshi soba. (年越しそば、としこしそば). Take a look at the following video. It is common to spot a long line like this on New Years Eve by some restaurants.

This restaurant has been open since Edo period with long history of serving Soba noodles. They are serving 3000 meals all together.

Here is another restaurant prepared to serve 6000 meals on New Years Eve.


Getting ready for the Toshikoshi soba (年越しそば、としこしそば)



So got an idea how people in Japan eat Toshikoshi soba (年越しそば、としこしそば) on New Years Eve? Well, what do you normally eat on New Years Eve? Do you have any tradition? Please share with me in the comment section if you have any. I hope everyone had a fulfilling 2014 and wish everyone the best of luck for 2015. Happy New Year!

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About the Author: keiko

Born and raised in Japan. She currently lives in U.S. with her husband and two kids.


  1. Sann Hlaing:

    Hi Keiko San

    I would like to know more about Japanese culture. Is it true that Japanese believe when people die they become ” buddha ” ?
    What Japanese call the ancestral shrine in a corner of the house? Do they believe in next life ?

  2. Eleni Lindauer:

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  3. jared herrera:

    thats good to know