Bento box of the week: Three tier bamboo shoot shaped box

Bento item of the week is a weekly feature on Just Bento. This week's item is this adorable bento box.


I love the shape of this box. It's a three-tier model, made of wood and lacquered. It is made to ressemble the shape of a bamboo shoot. Bamboo has a lot of significance in Japanese culture, and the bamboo shoot is seen as a harbinger of spring. Bamboo rice (takenoko gohan) made with fresh bamboo is delicious. Bamboo shoots are also popular in stir-fries and in dried form as shinachiku (which literally means Chinese bamboo, Shina being the old name for China) in ramen.

I especially like the distinct wood grain pattern on the individual bowls. They could be used individually as serving bowls. Imagine setting out three kinds of olives in them. I do wonder a bit how practical it would be to carry to work. A special bag might be needed to hold it all tightly together, or it could be tied together in a cloth.

The box is made by a 110 year old company that specializes in supplying lacquerware to the restaurant trade as well as home users. While their web site doesn't specifically say so, the prices make me think that the containers are machine made rather than hand carved. (They do specifically state that they use real wood, not pressed wood or plastics, and real lacquer.) On the plus side that does mean their goods are more affordable than the previous two bento boxes featured. (Check out their entire line, including more conventionally shaped bento boxes.)

Size: 12 cm x 15 cm high
Price: 3,500 yen

(Tip for easy currency conversions: just enter, for example, "3500 yen in USD" in the Google search box! This one comes out to $30.93 as of the date of this post.)

(If you are interested in buying any of these featured Japanese bento boxes and you don't have a relative or friend in Japan to help you out, try the overseas shipping services listed on this page. Note this is not an endorsement of any of these services since I have not tried them myself, but they do get positive reviews from readers.)

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