Guide to Making Obento – Supplies, Tips and Where to Purchase

Obento making is a daily occurrence in homes with children who attend Japanese yochien. We spoke to veteran obento making moms and these are their recommended obento making items. Many can be found at Toys R Us Japan, department stores like Aeon Style or on Amazon Japan. We have highlighted Amazon products below which can be delivered within 24 hours.

1. Stainless Steel Cutting triggers (Flower/Star/Heart/Bear shapes) – These are great to cut shapes into fruits, vegetables, ham and cheese. Super easy to use kids can cut and decorate their own lunches. Also doubles as a fun weekend activity.

Amazon Japan 4 shapes for 404 yen


2. Food picks will brighten up any obento or party! Microwave safe and keeps fingers from touching food. Pick up these adorable panda picks.

Amazon Japan 8 picks for 488 yen

*** Guide to Making Obento – Supplies, Tips and Where to Purchase ***

3. Hello Kitty Rice Ball Set comes with 3 rice molds (bear/cat/bunny), two seaweed cutters, and bow and flower mold. Note the seaweed cut-outs are tiny. Best to place on rice with sterilized tweezers or you can purchase this handy seaweed scissor & tweezer set (750 yen).

Amazon Japan Hello Kitty Rice Ball Set 1364 yen


4. An obento isn`t complete without a Shinkansen Rice Mold set. We`ve used this set for years. The nori molds couple as great cutouts for eyes and spooky faces.

Amazon Japan for 908 yen

*** Guide to Making Obento – Supplies, Tips and Where to Purchase ***

5. Silicone cups are great fillers to prevent food from touching or to hold items in place. Microwave safe and adds color to an obento.

Amazon Japan 4 cups for 673 yen



japanese yochien obento set7. Obento Sets (子供お弁当セット) Typically around 3000 – 4000 yen. Usually comes with an Obento container, spoon, fork, chopsticks, cup and bag to hold all items.



*** Guide to Making Obento – Supplies, Tips and Where to Purchase ***

TIPS for obento making:

– Use leftovers from last nights dinner and pack the food in tight.
– If you cook the obento early in the morning let the food cool before closing the obento to prevent spoilage.
– Use an icepack in summer to prevent spoilage and food poisoning. Place the icepack between the bento band and top of the bento container.
– Make your obento colorful with a variety of vegetables & obento picks.
– Do not put furikake (rice seasoning) on the rice. Purchase individual packs and place in bento bag for kids to sprinkle on later.

Where to find Japanese bento recipes

You can find some great Japanese recipes on websites like Japanese Cooking 101 and Cookpad (Japanese Language) or sign up for Survival Japanese Home Cooking Classes with Yuki Sensei.

*** Guide to Making Obento – Supplies, Tips and Where to Purchase ***

Charaben (character bento) ideas

Search for #kyaraben or #charabens on Instagram for adorable bento ideas.

Do you have obento-making tips to share? Please leave a comment below!

P.S. Visit our posts on education in Japan

Educating your Child in a non-native language

Guide to Navigating the Hoikuen (nursery school) system

Preparing for Japanese Yochien

Required Yochien Items

Surviving Japanese Yochien (Kindergarten)

Surviving Japanese Shogakko (Elementary School)


Guide to Making Obento – Supplies, Tips and Where to Purchase


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