There’s a saying in Japanese that basically translates as, “Wives and tatami mats are best when they are new.” Here in Nagano, I think there is one more thing that people get excited about when new: soba. Nagano is proud of its buckwheat noodles, and it seems everywhere you look nowadays, there’s a Soba Festival going on somewhere in Nagano. Our guests often ask “When does Shin (New) Soba start?” So I checked with my soba man, Yamaguchi-san of Yamaguchi-ya soba restaurant in Togakushi. He told me that harvest has already started, but it takes time to process the soba and verify the quality of the crop. So his restaurant plans on starting New Soba on the first of November. Other restaurants may have already started serving New Soba, but you might want to verify whether or not they use local buckwheat.
So in order to get New Soba, you have to wait a little while longer. I promise, though, it will be worth the wait.