The ekiben come in the form of compartmentalised trays, like many bentos.
A stand offering ekiben, for lunch on the train
Credit: Alfonso Jimenez https://www.flickr.com/photos/68458516@N00/2781125088
A balanced ekiben
Food on the move
The ekiben is a specially prepared bento lunchbox. With each region including its own culinary specialties, these special meals are often sold in train stations or on the platforms.
An abbreviation of eki-uri-bento ("boxed meal sold in the station"), the ekiben is eaten during a train journey. Carefully packed, it includes several small, beautifully arranged dishes. Cheap, delicious and plentiful, this on-the-move food is particularly enjoyable as you watch the scenery go by from your train seat.
Eat as you travel
An ideal solution for long train journeys, the ekiben comes with disposable wooden chopsticks, a napkin, soy sauce and green tea. A balanced and easy to enjoy meal, it's perfect for those who don't want fast-food or other unhealthy foods. On sale at the station, on platforms and on board long distance trains and shinkansen, ekiben are now also available in department stores.
Economical and delicious
These lunch boxes are available in hundreds of versions. All offer quality regional produce, cooked the same day, for a relatively low cost: between 700 and 1,500 yen. An ekiben is usually eaten cold, but recently on some specially packaged boxes a pull-tab chemical reaction can heat the dish in less than a minute! At some stations or in some shops, microwave ovens are also available to heat food bought there. Vegetables, meat, fish, rice... it's a complete meal for all tastes!