Gourmet lunches for shinkansen and other Japan trains
Continuing our series of highlighting Japan's most delicious and unique ekiben, we continue from Eastern ekiben to Western ekiben! Here are some of the most well-known and popular bento, which will make a great lunch as you travel on the Sanyo Shinkansen.
Sansai tsuwabuki bento - Yamaguchi Line, tsuwano station
This ekiben makes great use of local, edible wild vegetaion (although not too wild-- many of these foods are quite mainstream!). The lunch set includes lcoal wasabi, zenmai (a kind of stem common in Asian cusine), himetake bamboo shoots, and many kinds of wild herbs, mushrooms, and root vegetables.
kohoku no ohanashi - shinkansen maibara station
Maibara, located north of Lake Biwa ("kohoku" means "north of the lake"), is just one shinkansen station away from Kyoto. If you're taking the Kodama bullet train, it might be worth a lunch break at this station to taste this amazing ekiben! This bento has been a top seller for more than 20 years and includes okowa rice (rice with musrhooms and sweet sauce), goose, and tamago yaki for a country home cooking feel.
kii provence wasabi sushi - Kisei Main line, wakayama station
Wakayama Prefecture's main station sells this amazing sushi bento, featuring all kinds of fresh fish wrapped in big wasabi leaves.
A great lunch stop if you're traveling on the Hanwa Line to see its beautiful cherry blossoms!
kobe wine bento - Shinkansen Shin-kobe station
Japanese train stations may have a variety of well-known wine ekiben, but Kobe's boasts the very first one. To go along with your little bottle of Kobe chardonnay, you'll get wagyū beef, saffron rice, potatoes, and other little treats that will highlight the flavors of the wine.
omakase sushi - shinkansen hiroshima station
Hiroshima's sushi ekiben samples many different kinds of Hiroshima's great seafood. The "omakase" part of this bento's name means "leave it up to the chef." In other words, you never know exactly what the chef thinks is the freshest catch of the day, but you trust him to serve you nothing but the best! Each piece is a different kind of "rare" sushi, and common ones include anago ell, oysters, beef, and sardines. If you didn't have a chance to taste Hiroshima's famous oysters, this is a great opportunity to do so as you move on to your next destination!