“Ekiben” 駅弁 is a Japanese word-blend that combines the words “eki” (train station) and “bento” (lunch box), meaning that they are packaged lunches available for purchase at train stations in Japan. Japan Rail Pass Blog says that, “Ekiben, however, are no ordinary fast food. Regions throughout the country take pride in their ekiben, with its food and packaging often providing a sample of the culture of that area. All come in convenient containers, but some make unique and special souvenirs. Some ekiben have been popular for decades, others for hundreds of years.”
Ekiben usually consist of rice, vegetables, and/or a small portion of meat and fish. Often times, ekiben can be purchased with beverages, and can even be sold with alcohol.
It’s extremely simple to buy ekiben – just visit a kiosk, cart, or local vendor inside a Japanese train station and you are sure to find them. Ekiben are also very affordable! The average meal can range anywhere between 300 yen to 1200 yen (3 to 12 US dollars). There are some very elaborate ekiben out there that can cost up to 3200 yen (32 dollars), but these are usually meals for 2 or more people.
“Best Ekiben on Japan Train Stations – Japan Rail Pass.” Japan Rail Pass Blog, 17 Feb. 2017,