A definitive ranking of the 10 best-selling bento boxes at one of Tokyo’s major travel hubs.

Besides their legendary cleanliness and punctuality, one of the best reasons for taking the Shinkansen (bullet train) in Japan is to treat yourself to an amazing locally sourced ekiben, or “station bento boxes.” Regions throughout the country take great pride in their ekiben as a chance to showcase their locally famous ingredients to travelers from afar. The offerings can also run the gamut from the simple to the extraordinarily gourmet.

Today we’re pleased to present the results from JR East Shinagawa Station’s Top 10 Best-Selling Ekiben. The ranking was determined based on the ten best-selling ekiben within the Ecute shopping area of Shinagawa Station, which is a stop on the Tokaido Shinkansen as well as several train lines including the famous Yamanote loop. Since the “Travelers’ Kitchen” portion of the area was renewed in March 2019, approximately 29,000 ekiben were sold in the span of only ten days, proving their great popularity with travelers (though you can access some parts of the station without being a ticket, so even if you’re not going anywhere, you can still pick some of these up for lunch or dinner!).

Without further ado let’s take a look at the list!

10. Minori Minoru Kitchen: Minoru’s Special Domestic Beef and Pork Hamburg Two-Sectioned Bento / みのりみのるキッチン「みのる特製国産牛豚ハンバーグ2段弁当」(1,300 yen/US$12)

All ingredients in this ekiben were produced at the same farm. Diners should mix the grated daikon in with the hamburger steak for a delightfully refreshing treat.

9.  Good Morning Bangkok: Minced Chicken Stir-fried with Basil on top of Rice / グッドモーニング バンコク「鶏ひき肉のバジル炒めのせごはん」(864 yen)

This ekiben is in the style of the Thai dish known as “gapao” in Japanese (often spelled “pad kaprow” in English). The fresh Thai basil and fish sauce are the key flavors here. It’s also the only bento on the list to cost less than 1,000 yen, making it a wonderfully delicious and economical choice.

8. Tetote: Delicious Nori Bento / てとて「おいしい海苔弁当」(1,080 yen)

We love the the direct and to-the-point name of this one. With a chunk of salmon, mini egg omelets, simmered vegetables, and small pieces of dried bonito in addition to a wide nori seaweed topping, the smell of all of the seafood will transport you to the ocean.

7. Tonkatsu Mai Izumi: Tender Fillet Cutlets Bento / とんかつまい泉「やわらかヒレかつ弁当」(1,078 yen)

Offered by the popular Mai Izumi tonkatsu (breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet) establishment, the meat is said to be so tender that you can slice it with your chopsticks alone.

6. Nihonbashi Dashiba Obento: Katsuo-zukushi Bento / 日本橋だし場 OBENTO「かつおづくし弁当」(1,200 yen)

Note: Limited to Ecute Shinagawa 

This offering is from a shop that specializes in bonito (“katsuo” in Japanese). It features both a traditional Japanese take and a Western take on the rice and side dishes and is quite visually pleasing to boot.

5. Nadaman Chubo: Koto / なだ万厨房「琴」(1,350 yen)

Here’s a bento that’s similar visually to a multi-course kaiseki ryori meal. It boasts a balance between simmered foods, grilled foods, and deep-fried foods so that your palate will never get bored.

4. Meat Wholesaler Kojima: Two kinds of Kuroge Wagyu Low Temperature Prepared Steak and Yakiniku Bento / 肉卸小島「黒毛和牛低温調理ステーキと焼肉2色弁当」(1,880 yen)

Note: Limited to Ecute Shinagawa 

“Kuroge wagyu” refers to the Japanese Black breed of cattle, so it’s understandable why this one is the most expensive on the list. The deep flavor of the yakiniku coupled with the slowly prepared steak is a treat for the tongue.

3. Sakana Bacca: Barachirashi-don / Sakana Bacca「ばらちらし丼」(1,280 yen)

Note: Limited to Ecute Shinagawa 

Starting off the top three, this ekiben is perfect for the seafood lover. It features chunks of northern bluefish tuna, amberjack, salmon, and more all mixed together over rice.

2. Tsukiji Takewaka: Takewaka-nigiri / 築地 竹若「竹若にぎり」(1,550 yen)

So much sushi, including five pieces of northern bluefin tuna! Best of all is that this single bento lets you compare the taste between akami (lean tuna) and chutoro (medium-fatty tuna) cuts.

1. Tsubame Grill Deli: Special Demi-Glace Sauce Hamburger Steak Bento / つばめグリルDELI「特製デミグラスソースハンブルグステーキ弁当」(1,030 yen)

The title of number one best-selling ekiben on the list goes to the bento version of Tsubame Grill Deli’s famous hamburger steak. There’s plenty of flavorful sauce and overall volume to satisfy the hungriest of travelers.

As noted above, three of the ekiben in the top ten list can only be purchased at Ecute Shinagawa and nowhere else. If ekiben are your thing, then make sure to plan multiple trips through Shinagawa Station to try them all!

Source, images: Ecute
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