Ekiben, the Travelling Japanese Lunchbox: Promoting Regional Development and Local Identity Through Food Tourism

  • Atsuko HashimotoEmail author
  • David J. Telfer
Part of the Perspectives on Asian Tourism book series (PAT)


This chapter traces the evolution of ekiben (railway lunch box) from its beginnings to a regional culinary tourism product. Linked to the OVOP movement (One-Village-One-Product), ekiben represent regional identity. This is a unique form of culinary tourism, as tourists do not have to be in the destination to consume the local food, rather they consume it while travelling by train. Ekiben also reflects the characteristics of Japanese society, and innovations to the product have been made to meet modern-day demands. Changes in ekiben have also led changes in Japanese agriculture. This chapter brings Japanese documents and culinary tourism concepts to an English speaking audience. Ekiben is a social phenomenon, which fits within the concepts of McDonaldization and Disneyfication heuristically; prepared ekiben is quickly served, yet production and preparation of ekiben require time-consuming, made-from-scratch production methods. It is unique to Japan and co-exists the contradictory nature of fast and slow food.


Ekiben Japan Culinary tourism Regional identity OVOP 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada

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