Bento Lunch Box
Japan has a bento culture that is unrivaled in the world.
The word bento has even been adopted into English.
In addition to the packed meals prepared at home, there are bento sold at railway stations, bento that are provided by caterers for group tours, Buddhist ceremonies, flower-viewing, etc.
Bento have a long history in Japan.
In the Heian period (794-1185) people dried rice to create a portable food preservative, and there are records of samurai carrying pickled plums and dried rice with them into battle during the the Warring States period (1467-1568).
One thing that has supported the spread of bento culture is the bento box.
There are numerous types, ranging from those that employ natural materials to plastic, and the ycan be chosen according to where and what they will be used for.For instance, among those using natural materials there are baskets made of woven bamboo or willow bark.
These prevent the contents from becoming musky and look most attractive.
A popular type is the magewappa (bentwood), which comprises thin sheets of cedar wood that have been steamed then bent into the desired shape and sewn in place using cherry bark.
The smell of the cedar wood stimulates the appetite.