The ekiben in particular will often feature local treats and sometimes the box itself will have a distinctive shape, for instance.” The postwar period of rapid economic growth spawned a new industry of mass-produced meals, typically bento boxes and pre-cooked meals at convenience stores and supermarkets.
Conversely this had the effect of increasing the value of home-made bento meals.
This is what makes it so special, which all adds to the enjoyment of eating.
In the culinary world, this is illustrated perfectly in the bento, surely the ultimate culinary expression of miniaturization.
The aim of the bento is to provide a visual feast of color and movement to complement the delicious flavors on offer, not to mention the sleek, glossy feel of the lacquered box.
The sageju was a type of bento typically taken on outings, such as a trip to admire the cherry blossoms (hanami) or the autumn leaves (koyo).
It was a supremely functional bento box, fully equipped with small dishes, chopsticks and even tiny cups for sake.
According to Tsubuku, the original makunouchi bento had much more rice in it than the modern version.
This suggests that rice was the primary source of calories back in the Edo era.
Originally the ekiben was a simple meal, little more than an onigiri ball of white rice wrapped in bamboo sheath.
The idea of railway-based tourism was popularized by the Discover Japan campaign that coincided with the 1970 Osaka Expo.
Everyone in Japan has fond memories of bento boxes.