The month of August is summer holiday season for Japanese people, like many others in the Northern Hemisphere. This summer, many plan to travel especially to Tohoku region (東北地方) to support the economy of the region damaged by the earthquake and tsunami.
Before taking on Shinkansen trains at JR Tokyo station, let's drop by Gransta Dining, a new shopping zone opened at the end of 2010 just a minute away from Tohoku Shinkansen ticket gates. There you will find nice lunch packs suitable to take on board. Ekiben (駅弁), meal in square box(s) specially arranged for meal on-board and exclusively sold at station (eki, 駅) is appreciated by locals. It is for Japanese a piece of "entertainment" on the road (or rail).
Here we can introduce two interesting choices as lunch box on board and are available at Gransta Dining in JR Tokyo Station.
As the name represents "triple" rice (米, kome), it focus on rice but not in traditional way. The products look like rice-ball but not exactly. The rice, rather we can call, "pate" is too soft to hold it with fingers and they are interestingly arrangement with ingredients on top of it. You can select flavors as you like from colorful options in the showcase.
They are what I chose...
From left to right, bottom: Duck and leek (traditional well-matched pair of Japanese food), Salmon roe (イクラ, ikura), Pork dice stew (豚の角煮, buta no kakuni) and Italian ham with cheese and pumpkin. All are unfamiliar as rice ball ingredient but still attractive selections.
Nippon no Ekiben store is faceing to Komezanmai just introduced above. The small store, specialized in Ekiben (box meal for on board) is could be full with Japanese travellers who look for own most favourite lunch among many attractive offers. Here it could be hard to choose just one.
My selection is "Sanpi Ryoron Bento" (賛否両論弁当). It is produced by the young master of a popular Japanese restaurant in same name, Sanpi Ryoron in Ebisu, Tokyo. 16 different delicacies are there in each small portions, such as fried scallop, eel, salmon with miso sauce, chicken and shrimp dumplings, cooked vegetables, two kinds of cooked rice etc. All are carefully prepared and well-arranged for lunch box. It cost more than ordinary lunch box (at Yen 1500) but it worths trying. It was really fun lunch time
These two stores open from 6:30am in the morning so even those of early departure and of tight schedule will be satisfied with nice Ekiben.
Gransta Dining, where we can get these box meal, is located within JR Tokyo Station. It is in "North Court" on the first floor, close to North and Marunouchi Central Exit as well as Tohoku, Nagano, Jyoetsu Shinkansen gate.
Gransta Dining official site: http://gransta.jp/dining/
Related post: Ekiben (駅弁 Station lunch box)