Bento

Bento is a meal packed in a box shaped container. In Japan it traditionally includes rice, fish or meat and some vegetables (cooked or pickled). Preparing of the bento for children or spouse is an everyday thing in the Japanese society. The tradition of making bento arrived to Japan from China. The first bento lunch boxes in Japan were those made in the Kamakura Period (1185 – 1333).

Bento
Bento

A food container can be an ordinary mass produced product, but also a little work of art. There are several types of bento. It is quite popular to have a bento with some cartoon (anime), comics (manga) or even computer game character on the containter. This kind of bento is called the kyaraben or “character” bento.

There is also a bento decorated with photographs or pictures of people, landscapes or builidngs. Such a bento is known as the oekakiben or "picture” bento. There are bentos that are sort of a souvenir. The example of such a bento is the one sold in clay pot at train stations in the Nagano prefecture located in the central part of Honshu island. This bento is called the Kamameshi bento.