We are finally back from our trip from Japan, and ready to share some takeaway notes with you! We spent 13 days in Japan, covering several cities from Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Yokohama and Tokyo.
These treasure boxes are one of a kind, single-portion takeout meals which is very in Japan. You can easily find bentos at the convenience stores, bento shops, railway stations, and department stores.
I am always amazed with the beautiful colors and shapes in a bento box. Can you imagine the love they poured in while preparing these boxes?
We tried ekiben (station bento) at Shin-Osaka station and Kyoto station. We were mostly in a rush when moving cities, so we just choose among ekiben that are the most appealing to us. I am drawn to colorful bentos with many variety of food. We bought ekiben for meals during our shinkansen ride from Osaka-Kyoto and from Kyoto to Hiroshima and Tokyo.
There are several types of bentos, too bad we didn’t have time to try them all. We tried the makunouchi bento which is the most popular type in Japan, it consists of mostly rice along with fish, meat, pickles, eggs and vegetables and an umeboshi (a salt pickled plum).
The price range of ekiben varies from around 300 yen (small-sized bento) to 1,800 yen for the more complex bentos. Just choose within your budget, but do believe me that they do look so good.
How to Buy?
Can’t speak Japanese? No problem! You just need to see the display, take the bento, and pay. All of them have a price tag, however when it comes to ingredients you would need to try your luck. Some simple Japanese would help to identify at least the main proteins inside the box.
‘Niku’ means meat, and you can use ‘buta niku’ for pork meat, ‘tori niku’ for chicken, ‘gyu niku’ for beef, and ‘sakana’ for fish. I don’t speak Japanese, so I just do the pointing-here-and-there with some limited vocab, coupled with a apologizing smile.
Bento Bucket List
After we got back, we just found out that Yokohama has their own famous bento, which is a kiyoken hotate gohan (scallop rice). We did go to Yokohama, but we didn’t get to try these, maybe another time.
I am also very curious of the kanizushi (crabmeat sushi) which is a chirashizushi (a bed of sushi rice) with tons of sweet cooked crabmeat on top. JustBento got this during a trip on the Honsen line going from Kanazawa to Echigo Yuzawa.
If you happen to try some of these, do let me know how good they are!
Photos by CameradPhoto