Bento Box Types

Comprehensive List Of Bento Box Types

Traditional bento box types are typically a Japanese lunch-box though today the concept has made its presence felt in every household worldwide. Distinct from the standard lunch box in the sense constituent, a perfect combination of varied textures, tastes and food ingredients.

Hanami (flower viewing) bento in Edo period illustrated by Hiroshige Ando.
Hanami (Flower Viewing) Bento In Edo Period Illustrated By Hiroshige Ando.

An average Japanese meal packed into the bento box comprises rice, fish, meat, and pickled vegetables. The Japanese home maker uses every inch of space provided in the box to prepare and pack wholesome and nutritious meals for her family members.

  • Chūka bentō (中華弁当) Chinese food often used as a late night snack.
  • Kamameshi bentō (釜飯弁当) Bento served in clay pots, sold at Nagano Prefecture train stations.
  • Makunouchi bentō (幕の内弁当) Classic bento with rice, umeboshi, a slice of broiled salmon, and a rolled egg.
  • Sake bentō (鮭弁当) Bento with a slice of broiled salmon and rice.
  • Shidashi bentō (仕出し弁当) Traditional bento served with tempura, rice and pickled vegetables.
  • Tori bento (鳥弁当) Chicken pieces cooked in sauce served over rice.

Following are the most common types of bento boxes available in Japan and around the world. Included are a translation of each Bento Box Types from Japanese to English.

Makunouchi Bento

Makunouchi Bento

Makunouchi Bento translates into Between-Act Bento. As you can imagine, they have something to do with theatre performances, served during Noh and Jabuki "between the curtain” theatre performances dating back to the Edo period 1603-1867. While waiting for the next act, you were served with a lovely two-section meal to keep you occup...

Korean Bento Boxes

Korean Bento Boxes (Dosirak)

Dosirak is a lunch box that is widely used in South Korea, it consists of a bento box packed with a home-made meal that can also be purchased from dosirak stores. Similar to Japanese bento boxes they are normally served with rice and an assortment of traditional side dishes. Dosirak bento lunch boxes normally include a meal that is...

Influence behind the Shokado Bento Box

Shokado Bento, Simple, Elegant & Inspiring

Shokado bento box (松花堂弁当) pronounced "shookadoo" bento is a simple yet beautifully lacquered thirty centimeter square box divided into four equal compartments like the Chinese character for FIELD 田, with partitions that include extended edges and a lid to keep its contents warm. Shokado Bento named after Shojo Shokado (1582-October ...

Koraku Bento (Picnic Lunchbox)

Koraku Bento (Picnic Lunchbox)

Koraku Bento translated into English is Picnic Lunchbox. As the name suggests, Koraku Bento boxes are made for sharing among a group of people at picnics, day outings and sports events. In March and April they are prepared and shared with a group of friends during the cherry blossom viewing festivals. Similar to traditional bento b...

Ekiben Bento Train Bento Boxes

Ekiben Bento “Train Bento”

Ekibentō or ekiben translates to station bento, Eki meaning train and Ben is short for Bento. First sold in during the Meiji period (1885), at the Utsunomiya Train Station in Japan's northern Kantō region. The meal consisted of two freshly made onigiri balls, a few slices of pickled daikon radish wrapped in a sheet of bamboo bark. ...

Oekakiben Bento

Oekakiben Bento

Oekakiben or "picture bento" is a type of bento box that is prepared by the mother for her child in a manner that the ingredients are decorated to resemble a picture or a scene. Often depicting objects such as animals, favourite pets, famous people, buildings, monuments, scenes from a favourite movie or specific items such as flower...