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The best bento boxes at Tokyo Station

Prepare for your trip with a quality boxed lunch

Photo by Keisuke Tanigawa
Gifu's Hida Beef Sushi – a power bento for long-distance trips

Tokyo Station is more than just a place for catching the train: it's got everything from a hotel to an art gallery, and boasts countless restaurants and shops as well. Even if you don't have time to explore everything, one culinary experience that's not to be missed here is the ekiben, the supercharged version of the common lunch box. Put together with the kind of attention to detail that's rarely found outside Japan, these packs make the perfect companion on a long Shinkansen trip. There are almost 200 varieties on offer at the three bento shops inside the station (MatsuriOdori, and Nippon), so we went ahead and picked out 10 top boxes that please both the eyes and the taste buds. Enjoy!

Meat

Kurobuta Tonkatsu (Akita, Iwate)

Using the finest black pork from Ryusendo in Iwate Prefecture and high-quality rice from Akita, this pork cutlet box will satisfy even the most demanding carnivore. The size isn't anything to scoff at either, so hungry travellers can safely bank on this appetising creation. ¥980.

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Yonezawa Beef Yakiniku (Yamagata)

One of the most popular choices at Tokyo Station, this bento features soft and thick Yonezawa meat that maintains its flavour even when cold. Packaged with a reasonable amount of rice, the beef is best enjoyed with some fresh wasabi. ¥1,300.

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Ristorante Honda: Caponata (Tokyo)

Michelin-starred eatery Ristorante Honda produces this box, which consists of saffron rice topped with fried meat rolls in caponata sauce. The mozzarella-filled rolls go nicely with the strong sauce, and we're also grateful for the extra veggies on the side. ¥1,300.

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Steamed Pork Ribs (Kanagawa)

Yokohama Chinatown's Canton Hanten is famed for its steamed ribs, which work nicely in a bento too. The thick pork is deliciously soft, but still compact enough to be eaten with chopsticks. The accompanying egg adds a nice touch too. ¥1,050.

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Hida Beef Sushi (Gifu)

Combines stewed and roast beef for a combo that brings out the best in this high-quality meat. The slightly sweet stew is a nice complement to the vinegary rice, while the roast is served Japanese-style with soy sauce and wasabi. ¥1,260.

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Seafood

Salmon Bowl (Miyagi)

This representative from Sendai is the best-selling seafood bento at Tokyo Station. The salmon roe and meat combine for a luxuriously fatty but fresh taste, with the rice going down effortlessly on the side. ¥1,000.

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Mackerel Oshizushi (Kanagawa)

In production since 1913, this old-timer rises far above the standard oshizushi box. Its simple look hides a strong but not overly bitter taste of vinegar, carefully prepared fresh fish, and a container that feels way too nice to be thrown away so quickly. ¥1,200.

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Masunosushi (Toyama)

Sealed with pretty green bamboo leaves, this set exudes a refined style. The fatty trout is combined with locally produced rice for a sizeable treat that should be enough for more than just a quick snack on the Shinkansen. ¥1,300.

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Crab Rice (Fukui)

Crab isn't exactly the kind of ingredient you'd expect to find in a boxed lunch, but this bento pulls it off with style. Biting into the thick slabs of soft meat is a real delight, and you're not even half done: they even throw in some sea urchin and scallops to sweeten the deal. ¥1,380.

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Kuroikameshi (Tottori)

Now here's something that'll get your mind off the boring scenery on a long train trip: a grilled squid, filled with black, ink-dyed rice and seasoned with soy sauce. Cut into bite-sized pieces for your tasting pleasure, the squid retains its unique texture even when cooked. ¥500. 

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