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Japan 2012: The Art of Bento

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If you travel around Japan by shinkansen (bullet train) you will soon discover that the Japanese have a fascination with bento boxes.  As you enter a shinkansen station, you can see a slew of either omiyage (gift) stores or bento box stores.  Each shop is lined with boxes that are carefully wrapped with paper containing meals that are carefully prepared and esthetically beautiful, so much attention to detail – its true what they say, you eat with your eyes!  Each compartment contains a variety of items but only one of each item, a main protein component (usually fish or pork katsu – I guess you can say its like a japanese version of a schnitzel) and rice.  So as we travelled from Nagoya to Hiroshima and then back to Toyko, my mom and I enjoyed many a bento boxes while comfortably seated on the high speed train – its almost a ritual, everyone comes onboard carrying a bought bento box and a bottle of cha “tea”.  Chirashi or sushi bentos are my favourite – pieces of sashimi, egg and shrimp on a bed of seasoned rice.  If only my lunches I made were this good!

Shinkansen (bullet train)

Chirashi Bento Box

Bento Box - some of the items include: tempura, shrimp, chicken, hamburger, vegetables and rice.

Bento Box - four different types of musubi (rice balls) along with vegetables.

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