Soba noodles (buckwheat noodles) are available everywhere in Japan. It is eaten either steeped in a hot broth with various ingredients or cold with a soy-based dipping sauce. Soba noodles are very popular and inexpensive in Japan, especially during summer season.
Unlike pasta or other type of noodles around the world, most Japanese noodles, including soba, are rinsed in cold running water. This not only cools them down but gets rid of excess starch, which adversely affects the flavor of the noodles.
The most popular Soba noodles is serve cold. You eat Soba noodles by dipping into a properly made sauce or Soba Tsuyu, with plenty of spicy condiments or Yakumi. The Tsuyu is made of a strong mixture of Dashi, sweetened soy sauce (also called "Satōjōyu") and Mirin. Wasabi and Spring onions, and sometime raw Quail egg are often mixed into the Tsuyu.
It is typically eaten with chopsticks, you picks up a small amount of Soba noodles from the tray and swirls it in the cold Tsuyu before eating it. and in Japan, it is considered acceptable to slurp the noodles noisily. This is especially common with hot noodles, as drawing up the noodles quickly into the mouth helps cool them.
On New Year's Eve there is a custom to eat "Toshikoshi-soba” (Year-crossing noodles). Because soba is fine and long, people eat them to wish for a long life. Another interesting fact about Soba is it also means "Next to". There is a Japanese custom called "Hikkoshi-soba” (Moving-in noodles). People, who have just moved into a new neighbourhood, give their new neighbours Soba noodles while introducing themselves.
Soba Noodles differ in different part of Japan and shops. There are different types of Soba noodles and it is serve with different kind of ingredients. You have to try it out yourself to know which Soba noodles you would prefer to eat. Next time you are in Japan or any Japanese restaurants, give it a try, but if you are already a Soba noodles lover, then Enjoy :-)