Ekiben: What's Inside a Bento Box?


Traveling around Japan?  Sure, you can fly from one place to another in Japan, but in the country that invented bullet trains (shinkansen), taking a high speed train is just a good, if not better.  And the best part of taking the train? The amazing bento boxes you can get either on the train or at the station.  No airline foods here!

At every train station in Japan, there are small kiosks like the ones you see here which are dedicated to selling different types of bento boxes.  They usually range in price from $7-20 and come in a variety of different shapes and sizes.  

Everything is made fresh daily and you can't go wrong with any of the bento boxes. 

You can even get bento boxes on the train.  The bento above is in a box shaped like a bullet train and was bought on the train.

Bento boxes come in all different shapes and sizes.  You  can get a small bentos wih a few rice balls and other items, or a bowl of rice topped with delicious simmered vegetables, or a large box with tons of variety.  They are all so good! 

Different regions of Japan have their own specialty bento boxes too.  The clay pot bento above was from a rural area north of Tokyo and had lots of simmered goods on a bed of rice. 

Personally, I like the large boxes with tons of different things in them.  The problem is that bento boxes look too good to eat.

The bento box above has green-tea flavored rice.

The bento above has a mixture of rice balls, simmered vegetables, broiled fish, and fried chicken. It's in a neat bamboo leaf packaging.

When you go to Japan, hop on a train and make sure to get a bento! 

Tell me, what's your favorite type of bento?

Shigeki Abe
Shigeki Abe


Founder of Snakku; Born in Tokyo and raised in New York, Shigeki has always traveled and explored the world through food.

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