Autumn is truly splendid in Japan. People breathe a sigh of relief and return to the great outdoors to enjoy the lovely weather before winter arrives, and what better way to enjoy the pleasures of autumn than an outdoor picnic under that magnificent sky? What to eat? Well, bento box of course!
Bento, pre-prepared boxed meals, are a substantial segment of Japan's food culture. Found in depachika (the basement level of department stores which are often called, very accurately, food theme parks), they come in a huge variety, beautifully arranged and reflecting the culinary glory of the season. The competition is fierce, but the service is nonpareil! Making a selection may be one of the most difficult things you have ever done, especially if you are visiting depachika on an empty stomach!
While not quite as gorgeous, convenience stores and grocery stores also offer bento and plenty of ready-made side dishes. If you are feeling so inclined, you can make your own bento with all the fixin's—only assembly required!
Picnics don't have to mean limiting yourself to PB&J or ham sandwiches. Once you've experienced the fantastic bento culture in Japan, we're sure you'll find lots of excuses for enjoying more meals outdoors.
For more information on depachika, visit here.
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