[Update: For a much more comprehensive shopping guide to bento stores in Japan, see Where to buy bento boxes and accessories in Japan .]
Recently, Mark from CalorieLab  went shopping armed with a camera in Japan, and took some pictures of the bento supply displays at several stores. He’s very kindly allowed us to share them with you here. So come along for a virtual bento supply shopping trip in some typical stores in Japan.
First stop is the ever popular Daiso 100 yen store. Here’s a display aisle.
Interesting that the signs above the shelves say “Lunch Box” as well as “Bento-bako” (bento box) in kanji.
Some cute bento box straps (elastic bands to hold the box and lid together securely).
Some insulating bags, though they can’t seem to make up their minds if they are to ‘keep cool’ (horei) or keep warm’ (ho-on).
Here’s a similar display from another 100 yen shop, Can Do. The signs lining the shelf fronts say “anything, anything / choose and search (100 yen each)”.
Here’s a display from Seibu department store. These bento boxes are not 100 yen each, but of better quality of course.
Pretty flower-shaped two tier boxes.
Slimline boxes. This shape is popular for working people since it fits neatly in a bag or briefcase.
Stackable aluminum bento boxes that rather look like tiffin containers. These are popular for carrying non-rice bentos, and for men, since they are well, not cutesy.
Here are some cute bento boxes and other things, featuring Gaspard and Lisa, French picturebook characters that are very popular in Japan. This is at LOFT , a store that sells interior, household, craft items and the like. (It’s operated by Seibu and many of the stores are located within Seibu department stores, like a boutique or mall shop.)
Also at LOFT, some onigiri punches. Just punch out the cute face from a sheet of nori, stick it on your onigiri, and achieve instant cuteness. (The things on the left are general cutters.)
I hope that gives you a small taste of just what is available to bento lovers in Japan, the mother country as it were. Do remember that you can enter for a chance to win a virtual bento supply shopping trip by donating to Menu For Hope . The deadline is in just 4 days!
A big thanks to Mark  for the photos! The next post will feature some of the edible things he took pictures of.