Making soba (buckwheat noodles) is an art form in Japan and can be studied at various cooking schools around the country.
The buckwheat is first mixed with water and kneaded into a dough. The dough is then rolled flat with a meter-long rolling pin and then cut with a large square soba knife.
The large majority of soba noodles are of course machine made but the area around Jindaiji Temple in Mitaka in the western suburbs of Tokyo near Jindai Botanical Gardens is teeming with traditional, hand-made noodle restaurants.
Japanese noodles are very low in gluten and are a god-send for vegetarians. Soba noodles are eaten both hot in a broth or often cold in summer with a dipping sauce. Soba favorites include kitsune with fried tofu and tempura soba with batter fried vegetables or prawn.
Guide Books on Tokyo & Japan