• Sourcing Solutions
  • Services & Membership
  • Help & Community

In Japan, over 5 billion bento are produced every year.

5,000,000,000

40of people make bento every month
75of bento are made for adults
30of these are from wives to husbands

A History

Hira-ide Historic Site Park reconstructed Kofun period (600 AD) house
As early as the 5th century CE, people brought what is thought to be the prototype of bento to farm work, hunting, and wars.
Gotenyama by Ando Hiroshige
During the Edo period (1603 – 1868), commoners also began to bring bento to hikes and picnics, and theaters.
Passengers of train leaning out windows, being served refreshments by men on railroad platform.
In the Meiji period (1868 – 1912), railway companies started selling ekiben which has continued until today. Competitions between each stations’ original bento show its unchanged popularity.
Azuchi Castle
What we consider to be bento nowadays originated in the 16th century, when Japanese shogun started to allocate simple meals to his followers, henceforth accepted by the upper class people.
National Theatre of Japan - kabuki curtain
The bento served during intermissions of theater performances is called makuno-uchi (“between-act”) which is a curated medley of dishes. It is still popular today from convenience store to local bento shops.
Character Bento
To encourage pre-school children eat more vegetables, mothers began to decorate bento to look like animative characters. “Chara-ben” has gained global attention.

Choosing Bento Boxes

By Material

Plastic
The most common material for bento boxes. With wide options of shape and design, it is also microwavable and has great capacity to seal liquid.
Steel
Light and durable. Difficult to be stained with pigment or odor. Can be used for a long time.
Wappa
Wooden material provides a warm esthetic as well as a natural humidity control, retaining the freshness of its content.
Aluminum
Beside its lightness and sturdiness, its sterility prevents bacteria growth and spoiling the bento.

By Functionality

Compartments
Separate your main and side dishes with a multi-layer bento box.
Thermal
Thermal bento boxes allow you to have a warm meal anywhere you go. Some are even microwavable.
Jar
Just put in the materials and a soup jar will help making the meal for your busy schedule.
Shaped
Bento boxes specially designed to retain the shapes of sandwiches and rice balls.

By Size

This is an approximation from the energy need of an average Japanese person before factoring in their physique and lifestyle.

400ml age 3 to 5 550ml age 6 to 1 1 650ml age 12 and above, female 900ml age 12 and above, male

Handy Products

Easy Cooking Tools

Rice-ball mold
Easy tool to shape rice balls
Shaping mold
Cut sausages, hard-boiled eggs, or carrots into cute shapes like crab, star, or heart
Omelet pan
A must-have in a Japanese kitchen. Pans, or even microwave kits specialized for making Japanese omelets.

In-box Decorations

Cups
Use colorful mini cups for individual side dishes to prevent mixing.
Baran
Partition sheet for different dishes shaped like green leaves. Also available in popular characters and trains models.
Picks
Give your bento a colorful touch by simply using a designed character pick.

Why is bento popular aroud the world?

  • Encourage better eating habit for kids
  • Save money
  • Have fun cooking and preparing
  • Allergen control made easy
  • More healthy and balanced diet

It may seem difficult to always prepare a full range of dishes. Try preparing the night before, and keeping some items in the freezer to ease your morning routine. It is always fun to try out new cooking tools.

Verified Suppliers Find More on Alibaba Japan

MARIO CO.,LTD

Kyoto, Japan

GLOBARISE JAPAN

Fukuoka, Japan