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Food on the Shinkansen 2013/9/18 06:16
Hello there!

My friends and I are planning to take a 21-day trip to Japan in the Summer of 2014 (next summer).

Our main method of travel around Japan is obviously the Shinkansen (We're getting the Japan Rail Pass).

However, due to our tight schedule, we may or may not be able to eat food before checking into our planned hotels.

So I was basically wondering, how is the food sold on the Shinkansen? How expensive is the food, how are the portions, and how do they taste?

by 21337ninja (guest)  

Re: Food on the Shinkansen 2013/9/18 08:23
how is the food sold on the Shinkansen?

There is a limited selection of snacks, sandwiches and bento boxes. I usually prefer to buy the food at the departure station where there is a larger selection of bento boxes and other food.

How expensive is the food

Same as at the shops in the station. Not much different from convenience stores. Bento boxes typically cost around 1000 yen.

how are the portions

A lot of bento boxes usually come with a good amount of cooked rice. But others may be too small for big eaters.

and how do they taste?

I am not a fan of bento boxes because most of the time they are sold cold. They would taste much better if heated up. The quality of sandwiches differs between the sellers/regions. But they are usually not as good as the 7-Eleven sandwiches.

The larger the station, the larger is the selection of foods available.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Food on the Shinkansen 2013/9/18 15:24
Hey, Ninja guy, I tell you what. Ninja will never worry about their foods of next summer.

... just kidding.

You will find tons of selections of foods anywhere. Convenience stores, udon-noodle stalls or whatever are rampant. Before you jump in to sinkansen or after jump out of the train, no problem. Buying foods on the shikansen is the last idea right before you starve to die.
by Jay Kay (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Food on the Shinkansen 2013/9/18 22:04
I'm with Uji - usually best to buy your meals before boarding. The options are far more varied than on the train, and in some of the larger stations they can be positively mind-boggling. Smaller stations will of course have less to offer.

If you're so pressed for time that you end up rushing for the platform and don't get the chance to buy anything from the larger stores within the station, no worries: there will often be small kiosks (rather like mini-konbini) selling a limited selection of bentō, onigiri, and other portable food right on the platforms themselves.

Portion size: I find them rather small, but then again I've a pretty large appetite. I normally supplement my main bentō with onigiri or sushi on the side. Sometimes, if I'm feeling very peckish, I'd buy dessert from the cart right on the train (especially ice cream, which would melt away if I bought it too far in advance).

Now taste . . . tricky bit, that. All depends on your preferences of course. But you stand a better chance of securing something that suits your palate by raiding the large stores in the station, rather than picking through the more limited options onboard.

I wrote about one onboard meal I enjoyed a few months ago, here:

by Diego de Manila rate this post as useful

Re: Food on the Shinkansen 2013/9/23 03:35
I definitely recommend getting an ekiben before boarding a Shinkansen train. Not only is the variety of food much larger from an ekiben sales kiosk at the station, but you can get food specific to the region around the Shinkansen station.
by Sacto1654 rate this post as useful

Re: Food on the Shinkansen 2013/9/23 11:10
The "eki-ben" in other words station lunch boxes is a traditional treat for the Japanese.

They're supposed to be good served cold and they come with a variety of local goodies for each region or station. For that reason, there are often a big crowds of people trying to buy them at terminal stations, so estimate about 10 minutes more or less to choose and buy. Repeaters even know which shops are better than the other.

So at least for a lot of locals, they're much "fun" than your everyday combini bentos. Entertaining to look at, at least. Some do have interesting tricks in which you pull a string or something to start the automatic heater equiped on your disposal lunch box.

The authentic way? Buy an eki-ben or two at the station, eat them on-board, throw away the boxes at the platform of your destination, and if your destination provides other treats (such as the kishimen noodles of Nagoya Shinkansen platforms), eat them as well.

Note that green tea (canned or bottled, nowadays) is your way to go when eating eki-ben. Oh, and the boxes come with chopsticks.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

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