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Bento Box – Japanese Food Art

japanese sushi food art

Japanese food is as much about art as it is about taste

Great for school lunches, casual picnics or work place breaks, Bento boxes are a fun and creative form of Japanese food art.

In Japan, the presentation and artistic nature of a meal is just as important as the taste. This doesn’t just apply to fancy five star restaurants – home chefs, including clever parents and caregivers, pride themselves in creating awe-inspiring food art for their childrens’ school lunch boxes, or bento boxes.

A bento box in Japan is a single portion meal, which is commonly eaten at lunch or for any meal away from home. It usually contains a balanced list of ingredients including rice, meat and vegetables. Not only do homemakers spend time making the food healthy and delicious, they also put considerable effort into making the food presentation spectacular! A common belief is that when food looks and tastes good, it will enhance the mood of the person eating it and improve their performance at school and work.

Bento box art for school children usually resembles favorite cartoon characters or can replicate a beautiful scene.  So go ahead and help get your kids or grand kids in the mood for back-to-school by checking out these amazing bento box food art pictures with them!

Japanese Bento Box Food Art

These bento box creations are commonly found in school lunches for children in Japan.

bento bear food art

Teddy bear bento box made with rice, hot dogs, seaweed and vegetables

bento box food art

Spray bottle bento box made with rice, egg, sushi, seaweed and vegetables

cat bento food art

Cat bento box made with rice, seaweed, ham, meatballs, cheese, lettuce and asparagus


Ducks in a pond made with colored rice, egg yolk, mushrooms, seaweed and green beans

Can you imagine opening your lunch box to find some of these creations? That would definitely brighten my day!

food art computer bento

Computer bento box made with seaweed, cheese, and pickled and colored vegetables

Wii bento food art

Wii remote control bento box made with seaweed, white radish, sushi rolls, meat and vegetables

Japanese lunch box food art

Winnie the Pooh bento box made with rice, crab meat, hot dogs, seaweed and vegetables

Isn’t that creative? I wonder how involved the children are in making their own lunches – perhaps they choose the theme and characters they would like. This is a great way to develop artistic ability in children, while encouraging them to take ownership of preparing their food for school.

Learn Japanese Food Art | Check Out A Video on How to Make an Ocean Themed Bento Box

I found this great video on how to make an ocean themed bento box. There are step-by-step directions on how to color the rice and arrange the food to create an edible ocean scene. Have a look – you may be inspired to give this a try or at least get some ideas for creating an edible scene that is meaningful for the children in your life!

Isn’t that clever? Ocean scenes are a beautiful way to present food art. There are so many colors and textures to play with. If you want to get more ideas for ocean themed food art, check out my post on Gianna Goldy’s Underwater Garden. You might also enjoy my post about renowned photographer Carl Warner’s Food Landscapes, which features an amazingly realistic underwater “coralscape” made entirely of fruits and vegetables.

Learn To Make Impressive Food Art with Nita’s Video Lessons

You may not have time to make elaborate bento box art everyday (I know I don’t!), but if you are interested in food art and want to explore this satisfying creative outlet, you can learn some simple techniques on my blog and from my video lessons. Learn simple tips on how to garnish  and how to carve fruits and vegetables with my step by step techniques. Don’t worry if this is new for you, my Vegetable and Fruit Carving Course 101 was especially designed with beginners in mind.

Go ahead and give it a try by signing up for my free lesson on how to make radish flowers and arrange them into a lovely bouquet. Here is a photo showing you what the radish flowers look like on a salad:

Nita's radish flower food art

Radish flowers taught in Nita’s free online video lesson

As you can see, even a few simple touches can turn food into art! I hope you enjoyed this post on Japanese food art. If you want to see different styles of creating art with food in France and China, check out these previous blog posts:

Food Art | Chinese Fruit Pit Carving

Lemon Festival in France

If you decide to try your hand at making food art, whether it be a Japanese style bento box or vegetable and fruit carving, have fun with it and I invite you to share your creations with me!

Learn to carve like a pro

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One Response to Bento Box – Japanese Food Art

  1. David August 25, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    Very nice…I wish I could do them as good. Thanks for any an all e-mails sent.

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