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Welcome to Just Bento!

(日本の方は、こちら もご覧ください。)

Just Bento is owned and published by me, Makiko Itoh. I am a Japanese woman, born in Tokyo, and currently dividing my time between Japan and Provence, France…which sounds way more glamorous than it is. (I have family in Japan, my husband’s Swiss, and we have really run down house in France that we call “le money pit” ^_^;) That’s me in the photo on the left at age 3, absorbed in a cookbook no doubt. Besides Japan and France, I’ve also lived in Switzerland, the UK and the US (mostly in the New York City area) for extended periods.I am totally fluent in Japanese and English, and get along in French…and I can understand Swiss-German at least. While I’m passionate about promoting Japanese cooking and culture, I’m also interested in plain, simple, delicious and easy ways to prepare food.

JustBento is dedicated to the subject of healthy, simple bento lunches, some traditionally Japanese, some not so traditional. The focus is on bentos for health and weight-conscious adults, but many of the recipes and methods are applicable to bentos for all ages. The site was established in October 2007, and has rapidly grown to become top resource in English for people interested in bento or obento (お弁当.

JustBento is the sister site of Just Hungry, perhaps the best known Japanese recipe blog on the internet. There’s a lot more about me on the About page there if you are interested. (日本語のプロフィールは こちらです - Japanese profile.)

If you’re new to the site, you may want to start here: How JustBento is organized, and finding your way around.

JustBento in print

I am the author of The Just Bento Cookbook, published in 2010 (early 2011 in the U.S.) by Kodansha International, and now published by Kodansha USA. It is entering its 7th printing (as of March 2013), and is available worldwide. More about The Just Bento Cookbook.

Just Bento in the press

Some press mentions and appearances of note include:

Privacy policy

Cookies: Cookies are small bits of data that are stored in your browser, and retrived by sites you visit online.

Some cookies are set by Just Hungry and/or Just Bento in order to track site usage, logged in status, and so on, as well as statistics for our in-house private banner ads. We do not, and never will, store any of your private information in this manner.

Some of our ads are served a third party, Google, which may store information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in cookies in order to provide advertisements about goods and services you may be interested in (the DART cookie). If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by Google, please visit this page: Google ad and content network privacy policy.

Email addresses: We do require a valid email address when you leave a comment or register on the Just Hungry or Just Bento sites. (Registration is mandatory to start new topics in the forums.) We require this to 1) prevent spammers and other annoyances, and 2) have a way to contact you (for password retrieval, etc.) The email address you type into the appropriate form field is not visible to the public. We will never share your email address with any other party - we hate spam and unsolicited advertising more than you can imagine. However, we can’t be held responsible for the harvesting of email addresses that are just typed into the comment text itself - it’s common sense not to do that.

Comment and forum participation policy

All comments from unregistered users or registered users that are not logged in are held for approval by a site administrator. To learn how to register on the site, please read this forum post.

  • Please keep your comments polite and on-topic.
  • Do not use the comments or forums for spam.
  • It’s fine to disagree and debate, but it’s not ok to be rude, insulting or aggressive. Don’t write anything that you wouldn’t say to someone in person, in someone’s house, just because you’re online and anonymous.

Any comments that violate these very simple policies will be deleted. Registered members who repeatedly violate these terms will have their accounts deleted.

Copyright and usage terms

Please see this page.


Please see our advertising terms.

Product review policy

Please see our product review policy page.

General FAQs

Please see the About/FAQ page on Just Hungry for general questions.


To contact us, please use our Contact form.

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I had a craving for the simple Chicken Shoiyaki my Mother makes. I have not made it myself or a while and since I couldn’t reach her, I googled the recipe and came across your site and found both the recipe and helpful instructions.

I visit tons of websites and blogs for work and personal use and think is one of best designed (both functionally and visually) sites I have been to and the information is very practical with great narrative. Just like a well-made Bento, its clear that a lot of thought and excellence goes into the creation and presentation of this elegant site. Even your choice of your Captcha as a simple math question rather than dizzy text underscores your understanding of a great user experience.

I am going to share this on Facebook with my friends and send the link to Giant Robot, which covers hip Asian culture.

Keep up the great work.

Nice, it might put myself under control.

What a wonderful site, thank you, Maki. I had never thought of making portional meals for lunch. I am going to try making bentos when school starts. I used to eat like a sumo wrestler when stress piles up, I have a lot of faith in these bentos to stop me from doing that again!

Keep up the work.


I am going to start making bento for my daughter for her school lunchbox. I am looking for make ahead recipes, things that can be frozen, so I can have a mix of "ready", fresh veggies and other stuff.
Can you help me?
Titles of books, web sites?
It can be in french or in english.

Re: cookbook

Hello Odile. You can start right here on this site's Johbisai or bento staples section, which has tons of make-ahead friendly recipes.

Re: Site information

I cant comment anywhere. What am I doing wrong?

new to bento

Hi everyone,

Just ordered my first bento lunchbox online.
I'm getting started on a weight watchers diet on wednesday.(need to loose 3st)
I love japanese food getting the ingredients in the UK is not easy less you live in London.

Can anyone give me tips what i can pack up for lunch to keep in line with the weight watchers diet also.

Re: new to bento

Hello Judith. Although we don't have Weight Watchers specific recipes here, bento boxes are great to use in conjunction with a portion-control plan like WW. You will find tons of recipes here, not just Japanese ones, that you could use too, and all Complete Bento examples have calorie counts. Good luck with your weight loss!

Re: Site information

i just came by through the new york times.
great site!
proud of you!
keep up the good work!