Inaka Soba vs Sarashina Soba: Japanese Buckwheat Noodles

As you know, “Soba (蕎麦)”, also known as “Nihon Soba (日本蕎麦)”, is a buckwheat noodle that originated in Japan, which is said to have been first made more than 1,000 years ago.

Therefore, today, there are many variations and brands of Japanese soba, including these, and based on the color and thickness, Nihon Soba is roughly divided into 2 types.

The Difference: Inaka Soba vs Sarashina Soba vs Nami Soba

The 2 varieties of soba noodles are respectively called “Inaka Soba (田舎そば)” and “Sarashina Soba (更科そば)”, which actually have contrasting colors, black, and white.

Inaka Soba (田舎そば)

Inaka Soba buckwheat noodles

Featuring a blackish color, “Inaka Soba (田舎そば)”, also known as “Sanga Soba (山家そば)”, are somewhat thick buckwheat noodles compared to Sarashina Soba.

Made by grinding unhulled buckwheat seeds, the buckwheat flour for Inaka Soba is coarse, and the noodles are made without using thickener or “Tsunagi (つなぎ). So they have a strong aroma of buckwheat.

From these characteristics, and as the word “Inaka (田舎)” means “countryside” in Japanese, Inaka Soba is said to be a rustic buckwheat noodle. 

Sarashina Soba (更科そば)

Sarashina Soba buckwheat noodles

In contrast, “Sarashina Soba (更科そば)”, also known as “Gozen Soba (御膳蕎麦)”, are thin whitish soba noodles made from the endosperm of buckwheat seeds.

Sarashina Soba is a high-grade soba noodle superior in quality, characterized by the delicate aroma and faint sweetness from the endosperm of buckwheat seeds.

They give a pleasant feel to your throat when swallowing and go well with sweetish umami-rich Mentsuyu broth.

Nami Soba (並そば) 

Incidentally, “Nami Soba (並そば)” is the most common soba noodle with the intermediate quality between Inaka Soba and Sarashina Soba. If there isn’t a note on the menu, the soba noodle is thought to be a Nami Soba.

(Reference Pages: そばの散歩道, そばのおびなた)


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

1 Response

  1. June 26, 2021

    […] Sarashina Soba is just a type of soba noodle made from a different part of the buckwheat plant. […]

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