Japanese Food Culture 13 Bento

History of Bento

Bento is a portable food consisting of rice and side dishes packed in a box-like container to be eaten on the go.

In terms of portable food, the history of bento seems to be very old, as the oldest "onigiri" in Japan was discovered at an archaeological site in Ishikawa Prefecture during the Yayoi Period (2300-1700 years ago).


Bento in Japan

Bento has different names depending on the TPO.

All of them are collectively called "bento.


Bento in daily life that you make at home and take to school or work.→Bento.


Bento that you buy at a convenience store: Convenience store bento→Convini-bento.


Bento bought at train stations when traveling or on business trips and eaten on the Shinkansen or train: eki-ben.


Luxurious bento served at meetings, weddings, funerals, etc. → Catering bento = shidashi bento.


Introduction of Bento


おにぎり弁当=Onigiri bento


仕出し弁当=Shidashi Bento





ケータリング弁当=Catering box bento


花見弁当=Hanami Bento



For Hanami we brought to share.












Tokyo Station. 

This is a show window of a store selling ekiben.

It is full of samples of bento from all over Japan.