Ekiben, the art of bento

Eki-bento-uri, literally “bento sold at the station”, the ekiben is a packed lunch served during a train ride. Carefully packed, the box contains several small regional dishes nicely arranged. The ekiben have the particularity of being delicious as well as cheap, which makes them quite popular in every region of Japan.

Tasting on-board

The ekiben is ideal for long journeys by train. Accompanied by disposable wooden chopsticks (waribashi), a paper towel, soy sauce and green tea, it is a balanced meal and is easy to enjoy.
Ekiben are sold in stations, on platforms and on board in long distance trains and Shinkansen.
Nowadays ekiben are also available in convenience stores.

 


An economical and delicious option

The Ekiben is an individual dish that usualy contains rice, vegetables and fish, pork or marinated chicken.
There are hundreds of different kinds of this packed lunch. They all offer quality regional products, cooked the same day, for a relatively low price : between 700 and 1200 yen.
The ekiben is generally eaten cold, but you can now find ekiben with a chemical tongue that enables it to be heated up in less than a minute.

 



A regional speciality

Each ekiben is specific to a train station. The lunch box itself is made out of plastic, wood or ceramic. It is covered with a Kakegami paper with traditional pattern and decorated with a ribbon.
The ekiben is an artistic composition in which colors and textures are as important as flavors.
The envelope, composition and ingredients of the ekiben perpetuate regional traditions. The ekiben invites us to taste local production.

 


The ekiben phenomenon

Ekiben appeared in Japan in the late XIX° century and spread in the 70-80’s. Since then the appearance of high-speed trains has slowed down its development. But ekiben are still very popular in Japan
The Japanese are really interested in cultural tourism and food tasting, therefore ekiben are now the subject of television programs, festivals and magazines.

 



The top 3 ekiben

Among the hundreds of varieties, there are three ekiben that are particularly popular :
1. Toge no kamameshi : an ekiben served in a ceramic dish consisiting of chicken, rice and vegetables (Yokokawa Station – Shin-Etsu Line)
2. Masu no sushi : Trout sushi wrapped in bamboo leaves and placed in a box made of cedar wood (Toyama Station – Hokuriku line)
3. Ika Meshi : Squid in sweet and sour sauce garnished with rice (Mori Station – Line Hakodate)

 

Advice on Facebook


You would like to be kept informed of our latest offers and all kinds of information about traveling to Japan?

In order to discover the latest news about Japan, to find new travel ideas and share your passion with your friends visit our page and click on "Like"

 


Prepare your own bento




When participating in activities in Japan you can learn about the daily lives of Japanese people and share precious moments with them.
Japan Experience offers you exclusive activities in the Kyoto's traditional district.

Learn how to cook japanese food and how to lay out food in order to realize a customized bento.


All our activities

 

Discover our Travel Angels


      

Chosen by Japan Experience for his/her kindness, common sense and his pleasure in sharing his country's culture, the 'Travel Angel' welcomes you upon your arrival and remains available and reachable throughout the duration of your stay.


Get to know them better by discovering their profiles
By following your navigation on this website, you agree to the use of cookies in order to improve your user experience, provide personalized contents in consideration of your interests or to realize visits statistics. By continuing on this website, you agree to the use of cookies. To learn more and configure your preferences regarding cookies.