Nodulation is the result of a mutualistic interaction between legumes and symbiotic soil bacteria (e.g. soybean [Glycine max] and Bradyrhizobium japonicum) initiated by the infection of plant root hair cells by the symbiont. Fewer than 20 plant genes involved in the nodulation process have been functionally characterized. Considering the complexity of the symbiosis, significantly more genes are likely involved. To identify genes involved in root hair cell infection, we performed a large-scale transcriptome analysis of B. japonicum-inoculated and mock-inoculated soybean root hairs using three different technologies: microarray hybridization, Illumina sequencing, and quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Together, a total of 1,973 soybean genes were differentially expressed with high significance during root hair infection, including orthologs of previously characterized root hair infection-related genes such as NFR5 and NIN. The regulation of 60 genes was confirmed by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Our analysis also highlighted changes in the expression pattern of some homeologous and tandemly duplicated soybean genes, supporting their rapid specialization.