Ekiben is a boxed meal bought at railway stations, the word coming from eki “railway station” and bento. It is said that the first ekiben was sold 132 years ago at Utsunomiya Station, which was belonging to Nippon Railway (Nippon Tetsudō), the first private railway company in the history of Japan.
In time, the ekiben became popular at train stations all over the country, and some stations became famous for their specific ekiben. The sellers were coming on the platforms and the travelers were paying and receiving the meals directly through the train’s open windows. Later, after the appearance of air conditioning and the high-speed trains with fixed windows, the meals had to be sold only at on platform stalls, and the popularity of ekiben started to decrease.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: