Japan is a country where the classical often rubs along closely with the quirky. This is as true of the food culture as in other defining aspects of the country. Bento boxes have been a tradition for centuries, providing often painstakingly prepared lunchtime sustenance for millions of Japanese. A more recent development has been the growth in popularity of ‘kyaraben’.
Roughly translated as “Character bento”, these playful lunchboxes contain delicacies that are decorated to look like cartoon characters, icons and often famous people. Unsurprisingly, the process of putting together a kyaraben bento box can be both instructive and fun.
This crash course in the art takes place in one of the many machiya (traditional Japanese wooden house) in the ancient capital of Kyoto. Guided by an expert in the art of kyaraben, guests will learn about the finer points of food preparation before sampling the fruits of their bento-making efforts.
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