Mar. 25, 2019 UPDATE
Story & Recommendation
Discover antique bento boxes at this store with a deep history
Just walking inside this store feels amazing. Established in 1689, Hanbey Fu is a store with a deep history specializing in fu, a traditional Japanese food made of wheat gluten. The store’s incredible beliefs surrounding hospitality and the cherishing of Japanese food culture, lead to this showcase of the creation of bento boxes—many of which are from the Edo period (1603-1868). As having a meal was considered a form of leisure, many enjoyed eating outdoors while appreciating natural scenery. It’s a part of Japanese culture to have profound respect towards nature and the changes each season brings. These beliefs are well transmitted through a variety of unique bento boxes that can be observed at this museum—which is open to walk around in for free.
Bento Boxes that You Would Never Imagine Existed
Bento, especially back then, were not only for individuals. People mainly enjoyed each other’s company surrounded by nature. This recreational activity was meant to be a time filled with entertainment, hence why bento boxes that can be turned into board games were created! An excellent idea for a day out with a group of people. Just imagining what kind of people must have used it is so exciting.
More Unique Boxes
There are about 150 bento boxes showcased in the museum. You will discover many unique bento boxes, such as the ones that appear to be cast-iron but are actually made of wood. Boxes were carefully preserved as many of them have designs of seasonal flowers and are to be enjoyed for a particular season, so were kept to be used for the following year, year after year. You will see many compartments in some of the boxes, many of which have a place for sake as well. As you go through the museum, you will see beautiful, playful designs on the bento boxes.
Check Out Some Items at the 1st Floor Shop
The first floor sells a variety of fu products which are popular among locals and visitors. Hanbey fu is a famous store with a long history which started with the founder, Hanbey, who was a chef for the Japanese imperial family. Fu products are commonly eaten by monks because of their strict meat-free diet. There are savory and sweet ways to eat fu. For example, the savory fu products named “Zen” are very tasty; some people even eat them in place of meat.
- Manner & Tips -
The Bento Box Museum is located on the second floor. Feel free to just walk up the stairs.