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Goin’ Japanesque!

– Delicious Bento Tips from Japanese Connoisseurs – Don’t Settle for Conbini!

Foods from Japanese convenience stores are good! You all think so, don’t you? (That’s what we are hoping you’d say). They are good indeed, but actually, when Japanese connoisseurs want to eat really good bento, they go to a different place to buy them. Of course conbini, or convenience stores are open 24/7 so when we don’t have much time or need a quick bite (some onigiri rice balls or sandwiches) we go there quite often. But the stores we are about to introduce to you have some bento that we really want you to try!

 

Origin Bento

オリジン弁当

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This is Origin Bento, where you can buy bento that is made fresh. It gets really crowded around lunch and dinner time.

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When you are in a rush, you can also buy them pre-made. You may think, “That’s no different from the conbini!” but this is way better!

Souzai Corner

(183 yen/100g)

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If you want to save money, go for the souzai (side dishes from the deli section)! For Japanese, rice is a staple. So if you cook the rice at home and buy the side dishes to take home, it can be a real money saver! I used to do that when I was a student. If you are just moving to Japan from overseas and strapped for cash, it’s a good tip to try. Buying at the conbini all the time can really add up and put a dent in your wallet, so this is a piece of advice from us! Take home some of that karaage fried chicken shown in the photo and you’ll have more than enough for a meal :)

The Tasting

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I bought the recommended, Nori-Chicken Tatsuta Bento (Seaweed/Fried-Chicken Bento), and Tuna-Mayo onigiri and Cheese-Okaka (bonito flakes) onigiri. All of this comes out to about 650 Yen. The rice balls are about 1.5 times the size of what you would get at the conbini.

 

Hokka Hokka Tei

ほっかほっか亭

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In Japan, freshly made bento for take-out is called “hoka-ben” and this is its origin. The popularity of delicious bento nowadays, all started from here.

“Torimeshi” Chicken Rice

とりめし (420 yen)

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I just noticed how much the Japanese use seaweed, lol. (In the onigiri too.)

 

Hotto Motto

ほっともっと

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This place may be the most popular in Japan. We just see a lot of people eating it very often! There is always at least one of these around your house…lol

The Best “Nori-Ben”

のり弁 (300 yen at lunch time)

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The nori-ben (seaweed bento) here is just the best! Once you try this, you will never be able to go back to the conbini bento again. Absolute reliability on deliciousness and also super cheap!

Yakiniku Conbi Bento

焼肉コンビ弁当 (480 yen)

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If you’re looking for a big meal, try this! Popular among younger people.

 

Honke Kamadoya

本家かまどや

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This is a bento place with a wide variety of menu options and healthier feel.

The Makunouchi With Seasoned Rice

炊き込みごはん入りザ・幕の内 (660 yen)

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This bento is fancy so it is a little bit more expensive.

Ozeki-san Bento

大関さん弁当 (580 yen)

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This Ozeki-san bento is a combo of 4 favorites, the menchi-katsu (breaded fried hamburg steak), the hire-katsu (breaded fried pork), the karaage and hamburg steak. The name of the bento probably means that it can even satisfy an Ozeki-rank sumo wrestler.

Out of the 4 locations, personally, my highest recommendation is Origin Bento!!

sumo-ozeki

 

Ekiben-ya Matsuri

駅弁屋 祭

And now, we want to show you something a little different from other sites. Japanese have a custom of eating bento on the train during short trips. These kinds of bento, collectively called the eki­-ben, actually have many varieties that are exclusive to certain regions and there are many fans.

Here in Tokyo Station, there is a store that offers 170 varieties of bento from various regions.

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They do a really good job of displaying the bento. It is often said that Japanese display samples are really high quality, but when you see it displayed like that, it makes even us Japanese want to eat it. Try an eki-ben on the Shinkansen during your trip; we hope it becomes a fun and memorable moment of your travels.

Information: Ekiben-ya Matsuri

Address: Tokyo Station 1F
Open: 5:30 ~ 23:00
Phone: 03-3213-4352

Related: 14 Select Regional Ekiben Lunch Boxes from All Over Japan

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