Bento (Lunch box) is one of the most popular lunch options in Japan. When I was in junior high school, my mother always woke up early and made it for me. I’m sure some or most of you had the same experience of your mom making your lunch.
Usually the typical bento consists of rice, a main dish (fish/meat), a side-dish (salad) and if you are lucky, a dessert. So you can enjoy a bit of everything inside a 15cm X 25cm box. And since there is no microwave for students at school, it should be tasty even if it’s cold. So soup is not a great idea for bento in general.
If you are planning to visit Japan/Kyoto, I’d like you to try one. You can eat it in your hotel room or if weather is nice, you can bring it to Kamogawa riverside and eat under the sun (watch out for the birds though).
Where can you get it? There are three main choices. 1. Underground level in the department store. 2. Super market. 3. Convenience store.
My personal recommendation is 1. At the underground level in any department store you can see plenty of high quality & popular lunch boxes from prestigious restaurants and stores. They cost more than lunch boxes from convenience and super markets, but they are worth it. Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian, etc, there are many choices, and I’m sure it will take a while to choose. At a department store, the typical bento costs 650 – 1200 yen. At convenience stores and super markets, you can buy bento box for 500 yen.
You can find much more useful and complete information in my Kyoto Guidebook which is now available on Amazon sites. Click here to buy the Kyoto Guidebook (ebook) on Amazon.com (You can find the Kyoto Guidebook on your local Amazon site).