Marukonouchi Bento

Most Common Type of Bento Box: Marukonouchi Bento

One of the most significant aspects of traveling in Japan is sampling local street cuisine! Accepting the local food acknowledges the location's individuality. Bento boxes are a significant part of Japanese cuisine culture, and they may be found all around the country, from commercial catering to homemade artisanal boxes. It is a cheap and straightforward way for Japanese people of all ages to eat lunch.

Lunch boxes are no exception to the Japanese habit of making the most of every available space. The meal is packed neatly and snugly into a small square or rectangular form, making it easy for children and busy office workers to transfer. Traditionally, the mother of the home prepares dinner for her children and husband, although bento boxes are now widely available in convenience store bento boxes and restaurants.

What is a Bento Box?

A bento box is a Japanese lunch box that contains one portion of a balanced meal. A carbohydrate (such as rice or noodles), protein, and numerous vegetable and fruit side dishes are common components of this meal. Bento boxes are often one-person meal platters. Rice, salmon, pork, and pickled vegetables make up a traditional Japanese bento box dinner. The most common types of bento boxes are the marukonouchi bento, koraku bento, hinomaru bento, shikaeshi bento, aisai bento, ekiben, and kyaraben.

Bento boxes are popular in Japanese culture as a convenient way to have a healthful portion-controlled meal.

marukonouchi bento boxes - rice dish complete meal

What is usually inside a Japanese Bento Box?

A classic Japanese bento often comprises starch (rice or noodles), a protein (generally fish or meat), and a variety of pickled or cooked vegetables to provide a nutritionally balanced meal in one box. Popular are bento boxes stuffed with pressed rice ball, or sushi rice.

There is no standard pattern. Bento boxes are convenient because the food is already portioned and rarely needs to be heated. Salads, wraps, sandwiches, and sushi are all available as main courses. Snacks include a variety of fruits and vegetables, dips, nuts and seeds, and energy balls. Japanese Bentos are meant to be consumed at room temperature. Even if you cover it with an ice pack or keep it in the refrigerator, the longer it sits out, the less fresh it becomes. As a result, it is strongly advised to reheat cooked foods before packing lunch.

Different Types of Bento Box

There are many kinds of bento, each with its purpose and environment. These are the most popular styles of bento boxes in Japan:

Marukonouchi Bento

This is the most common type of bento box which is called the two section bento box. This ready-made bento often found at convenience stores bento boxes, is prepared by a commercial caterer. Normally, the box is divided into two sections, with one side containing a rice dish and the other containing a small side dish like fried fish cakes. This bento was originally given between acts at Kabuki theaters to actors and audience members.

Japanese Bento Box - Complete Meal Served- Makunouchi Bento (two section bento boxes)

Hinomaru Bento Box

The name translates as "circle of the sun," a reference to the Japanese flag and national symbol. The pure Hinomaru bento is constructed entirely of plain white rice, with a sun-shaped umeboshi (pickled plums) in the center. It is, however, frequently served with a meat or fish side dish. Apart from being patriotic, the plum also acts as a natural preservative, helping to keep food fresh.

Hinomaru Lunches - Pickled Plum - Japanese Lunchbox  (delicious meals)

Ekiben Bento

This lunchbox is available at major train stations, including the platform and train. The ekiben is a meal served in a disposable plastic, wood, or ceramic box with chopsticks. Many train station are well-known for their ekiben, which are produced from regional cuisine.

Japanese Railway Bento - Train Station Bento

Kyaraben Bento

Kyaraben ("character bento") are children's lunchboxes in which cooked rice and other bento box dishes are molded and sculpted to resemble fun shapes, popular anime, manga, video game or cute characters. The adorable characters not only provide color to the typical bento lunchbox but also encourage kids to eat meals they do not particularly enjoy. In addition to well-known people, kyaraben may include animals or natural settings depending on the season or event.

Japanese Meal - Bento lunches that is packed neatly and creatively.

Aisai Bento

The aisai bento, often known as the "loving wives bento," is precisely as it sounds. In addition to cooking the children's lunches, the family's mother prepares this special meal for her husband to take to work. Similarly, young women in relationships may create a customized bento for their significant other during the hanami season.

Eat Foods - Delicious Dishes

Experiences by Japan Crate: Bento Experience Set

Prepare to relive your favorite Japanese school days by creating your own bento box and learning how lunch boxes have been constructed regularly, with intricacy and affection, for decades. The good news is that you can make your bento box using Japan Crate's Bento Experience Set. If you are interested in Japanese culture, this article is for you. You may unleash your inner creativity and make the best bento boxes in the world in the corner of your kitchen with the provided equipment and instructions. The Bento Experience Set includes a bento box (two-tiered), carry bag, seaweed art, food dividers, food picks, a utensil set, and a container.

Bento Experience Set


Learn how to prepare Bentos as you see in train stations or Japanese animation films in the comfort of your own home! You don't need to book a flight to Japan to have the same experience because it's available everywhere. Experiences by Japan Crate offers the most affordable and high-quality bento box experience sets without requiring a subscription. Furthermore, international shipping is free! More information is available on our website!



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