Take a virtual bento shopping trip in Japan (part 1)

[Update: For a much more comprehensive shopping guide to bento stores in Japan, see Where to buy bento boxes and accessories in Japan.]

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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.

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Interesting that the signs above the shelves say "Lunch Box" as well as "Bento-bako" (bento box) in kanji.

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Some cute bento box straps (elastic bands to hold the box and lid together securely).

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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).

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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)".

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Here's a display from Seibu department store. These bento boxes are not 100 yen each, but of better quality of course.

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Pretty flower-shaped two tier boxes.

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Slimline boxes. This shape is popular for working people since it fits neatly in a bag or briefcase.

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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.

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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.)

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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.)

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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.