Hanami is the traditional Japanese custom of enjoying flowers in their blooming phase. Hanami mainly refers to the appreciation of sakura or cherry blossoms in particular. From the end of March until early May, sakura bloom all over Japan with the first blooms appearing around Okinawa from early February.
Families, couples and friends usually prepare festive hanami bento and have picnics underneath the blooming sakura trees. Japanese bento are a work of art in their own right. With more people leading active and healthier lifestyles – packed lunches have become a common trend. That’s why we’ve created this simple bento guide to help you create your very own beautiful bento to celebrate spring!
Arguably the most important part of any bento meal is the bento box itself. With many different styles, colours and designs of bento boxes available, you’ll be spoilt for choice. If you like to enjoy different dishes at lunch, then you might appreciate the versatility of the kokeshi bento box. With layers for all the different components that make up your meal, it’s easier to stick to a balanced diet. They are leak resistant and tough. If you love miso soup, you can use the ‘head’ or cup of the Kokeshi bento to make instant miso soup.
With most bento boxes designed to be heat retaining and microwaveable, should your food get a little cold, you can just pop it into the microwave. This is an added bonus as it means you can put just about anything in your bento box – giving you more freedom to get creative.
The fun and creativity doesn’t just end at the bento boxes themselves, but also extends to the accessories that can be used to take your bento lunch to the next level. If your bento box doesn’t have layers like the Kokeshi bento box does, you can use bento picks or decorative dividers to create space and separate the different types of food you have in your bento.
If you are looking to gift a child with some bento accessories, go for bento cups, onigiri moulds, plastic bento cutters and egg moulds as they are easy to use and suitable for most ages. For those looking to get a little bit daring with their bento box decorations, you can try coordinating the look and feel of your bento box with the accessories you may need for it. For example, paired bento bands, chopsticks and carrying bags to accessorise.
Bento Lunch Recipes
Browse our recipes to find the best bento fillers for hanami. If you don’t want to cook from scratch you can always buy ready made snacks, garnish them and arrange them the way you like in your bento. We have a wide range of nori seaweed cutters, decorating pens for sauces and face shape cutters that will liven up your bento box for spring.
Looking for the perfect hanami bento box recipes? Try our hanami bento or spring bento box recipes and explore all the wonderful Japanese flavours spring has to offer. They include beef and asparagus rolls, prawn tempura onigiri, fresh prawns, grilled fish, kamaboko fish cake slices, boiled lotus root slices and simmered bamboo shoots. Just in case you get thirsty while you’re out enjoying your picnic, why not browse our drinks category for all the best refreshments perfect for your bento.
How will you style your bento box for Hanami? Let us know in the comments below. Find out more about the art of Japanese bento by visiting our How To Make Bento page.