The bento box is a very popular meal in Japan, you have probably seen it in many anime (it is seen in almost every episode in Sailor Moon).
It is really better to define it a way to pack take-away food rather than a meal.
A "bento" is actually a box, a container, which can be disposable as well as made of ceramic or wood, and contains prepared food ready to be eaten; usually rice, some meat or fish, and vegetables. But its content can be almost anything, a classic example are the rice balls (onigiri).
on the left Naru is eating a bento at school (Sailor Moon), on the right a real bento
According to the common custom, the "housewives" in the early morning prepare and pack the bento box for lunch to give to their children who go to school and their husband who goes to work. Another occasion in which people usually eat a bento are picnics in parks. These scenes can also be seen in many anime and manga.
Today you find bento ready to be eaten, including hashi, sold virtually everywhere:: at supermarkets, convenience stores, in little shops or vans specialized in selling bentos, inside station and on board of long distance trains (where they are called "ekiben").
Packing a bento box, sometimes becomes almost an "art". There are shops or whole departments (for example those found inside the Tokyu Hands department stores) dedicated to selling "accessories" for bento, to improve the aesthetics, as particular boxes or napkins (furoshiki), molds to create various shapes with various foods and other various decorations. For example, it is fashionable to create "faces" of people with the layout of the food inside the bento box.
Here below some very particular bento pictures I have found on the Internet.
Guided tours, activities and other things to do
If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to add something special besides the visit of the different monuments and famous places, we suggest you to use the site Govoyagin
. This is a very useful site to enrich your travel experience, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan and, for language barriers and more, and you will not have many opportunities to interact with the locals and to enjoy something different from the famous places marked in the tourist guides.
What Govoyagin is
Govoyagin is a website where you can find many particular activities all over Japan (and not only in Japan).
You can buy tickets online for some famous attractions, but also book tours and really special experiences with locals ready to guide you and take you to places outside the tourist circuits that you would hardly ever find by yourself. Last but not least, you can reserve a table in hundreds of restaurants.
On Govoyagin you can buy tickets in advance to visit the Tokyo Tower
or the Tokyo Sky Tree
, but also book guided tours of Kyoto temples accompanied by a samurai
, or to go around the streets of Osaka on a go-kart dressed as Super Mario
, or even play videogames against an unbeatable Japanese otaku at his place
Last but not least, if you need to reserve your table in some restaurants, such as the legendary 3-star Michelin
, also in this case you can find this kind of service for sale on Govoyagin.
Take a look at Govoyagin
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