Wondering What to Eat at Kanazawa Station? Here Are Our Top 19 Bento Choices!
The trains of the IR Ishikawa Line and Western Japan Rail Company come in and out of Kanazawa Station and are used by large numbers of tourists. This article will introduce you to the best bento options in the station for when you are in a pinch. We've curated this list to include the best tasting bento while also highlighting local Kanazawa ingredients.
Sep 14 2019 (Sep 09 2020)
The 10 Best Traditional Train Station Bentos at Kanazawa Station
1. Toshie Gozen
The bentos sold at Toshie Gozen are two tier and come in boxes that look like the baskets used by feudal lords from the Edo Period. As the name would suggest, the menu on offer here is a modernized take on the menu served up by Toshie Maeda of the Kaga Domain (modern day Kanazawa) at banquets.
Inside the bento box you will find a wide and varied selection of small side dishes such as Japanese style rolled-up omelet, fried chopped lotus root and kamaboko (a typed of processed seafood dish) and even a dessert, all for 973 JPY excluding tax. It all looks so colorful, vibrant and beautiful. As you eat, you can feel the history emanating from everything, from the dishes to the box itself. So why not give it a try on your next trip to Kanazawa?
2. Notoushi Yakiniku Bento
This yakiniku (grilled meat) bento uses Noto beef, a variety lauded for the amount of oleic acid in it. The rib meat of Noto cattle are beautifully oily and are grilled in a specially made sauce from the company 'Beishin Okome Kitchen', which renders the beef juicy. The accompanying rice is a new variety grown in Ishikawa Prefecture. Taste-wise it is simply delicious and doesn't take a back seat to the beef.
Inside the box you will find the grilled strips of beef, the aforementioned rice, sliced ginger prepared in vinegar and plum blossoms. Of course, the meat takes center stage and it is packed into the box on top of the rice, so much so that you cannot see anything underneath it. The price is 1,493 JPY excluding tax.
3. Sanmi Sasa Sushi - 10 pack
Sanmi Sasa Sushi is a type of traditional sushi from Kanazawa that involves the sushi being pressed into a mold and wrapped in a natural piece of bamboo grass. These bentos are made with rice from Kanazawa, underground water from the city of Hakusan, sushi vinegar and local fish. There are three varieties of the sushi; sockeye salmon, sea bream and mackerel.
Inside the package you will find these three varieties of the sushi. The price is 900 JPY excluding tax. There are only 100 of these 10 packs sold every day, so if you arrive late to purchase them then they may already be sold out.
4. Masu no Sushi
Masu no Sushi is a bento box made by Minamoto, a beloved old company with more than 100 years of experience in the industry. The sushi rice used is made from rice taken from paddies on the banks of the Jinzu River that runs through Toyama Prefecture. This is topped with fatty sea trout and deliciously fragrant bamboo leaves. In addition to its taste, the artistically colorful arrangement of the food is a beautiful spectacle.
However, more than anything else, the most important aspect of this sushi bento is the sea trout. While sea trout is often used in these kinds of bento boxes, the accumulated skill and experience of an old store like Minato will guarantee that the taste is something special. How much is it? 1,297 JPY excluding tax, and yet including the box, it weighs 800 grams. This means that it is very portable and you don't have to worry about it being too heavy to carry around.
5. Awabi Meshi
Awabi Meshi is made using local ingredients and condiments such as Koshihikari rice harvested in Ishikawa, Ono soy sauce sourced in Kanazawa, Noto Peninsula Ishiru (fish sauce) and sake from Kaga. These are combined with stock made from abalone and loaded with rice, then topped off with steamed and sliced abalone. The box is modeled after the Tsuzumi-mon Gate which stands in front of the station.
Inside of the bento box you will find the abalone, Koshihikari rice, rice seasoned and packed with various other ingredients, and some locally sourced vegetables. Despite it being packed with abalone it only costs 1,482 JPY (excluding tax). There are a limited amount made available each day so you'll need to be quick.
6. Noto Ushi to Noto Buta no Yokubari Yakiniku Bento
This bento box is so packed with beef and pork that you won't be able to see the rice underneath it. It starts with hishikari rice which is combined with beef grilled in a secret sauce and pork grilled in ginger. You can get your fill of the beautiful ingredients from Northen Japan with this bento box.
The delicious rice of Ishikawa is combined with a generous serving of beef and pork, so this bento is a must for meat lovers. If you're wondering about that all-important price, its 1,180 JPY. This bento box is recommended for those who are looking for a gratuitous serving of meat.
7. Kagayaki Gozen
The center piece of this bento box is the molded oshizushi, which traditionally has been eaten in Kanazawa on warm sunny days since long ago. The box itself is simply designed with two tiers. When you open it up you will see sasa sushi pieces wrapped in bamboo leaves, a famous dish of Kanazawa. As this is a two tier bento box, you will also find it packed with plenty of vegetables.
Inside the box you will find; regular sushi, snow crab sushi wrapped in a bamboo leaf, shore dotterel sushi wrapped in a bamboo leaf, Japanese rolled omelet and prawns, among other delights. This bento box is packed full of the local delicacies of Kanazawa and all for just 1,620 JPY.
8. Hyakumangoku Bento
The name of this bento comes from a tax system used in the region in the past. Hyakuman translates as one million, while a koku was the term given to the amount of rice a person was said to need to feed themselves for a year. Therefore, the bento's name could be said to translate to 1,000,000 annual portions of rice. This maku-no-uchi bento (primarily rice-based form of bento with meat) includes Jibu-ni, a traditional stew from the Ishikawa region. In order to easily spread it out inside the train, the dishes are placed into square trays, and the placement of each individual dish makes them easier to take out.
There are 9 different dishes and rice inside the box, making this bento perfect for those who would like to sample a number of the different delights of Ishikawa. You are sure to be happy with how easy it is to eat inside the train and the price, at 1,100 JPY (excl. tax), makes it affordable too.
9. Sanshoku Chirashi
The highlight of this chirashi sushi bento (sushi with various things sprinkled on top) is delicious chicken with dashi stock soaked into it. While sanshoku generally refers to three meals a day, it also can refer to the idea of three colors. This bento is very colorful and when you open the lid, you will be taken aback by the decadent splendor of what is before you. This bento contains everything from side dishes to fruit, so it is popular with both adults and children alike.
Inside the box, you will find the mains; chicken soaked in dashi stock, flaked salmon grilled in salt, and omelette cut into strips. There are also sides such as fried items and mini tomatoes packed into the box. It is also very reasonable at a price of just 800 JPY (excl. tax).
10. Sansai Mori
This luxury bento features crab and salmon roe, as well as molded oshisushi (pressed sushi) topped with gold leaf. The individual pieces of salmon roe are very large and fresh. Combined with the crab meat, there is so much in the box that it hides the rice underneath. The colors are also vivid, bringing an even more luxurious feeling to the bento.
This bento box is packed with local fruits of the sea; snow crab meat, salmon roe and ama-ebi shrimp. The price is 1,280 JPY (excl. tax). These bentos are made in-house and must be eaten within 3 hours of purchase, so you won't be able to use them for souvenirs.
The 4 Best Looking Bento Boxes at Kanazawa Station
This bento comes in an octagonal box. Because this is not the typical square or rectangular box, it looks more luxurious than usual. When you open the lid you will see onigiri (rice balls) in the center of the octagon, bordered by side dishes around the outside of the box. It really looks exquisite, so much so that this is a key feature of the bento.
Inside the box you will find Jibu-ni, tonkatsu (fried cutlet) and abalone, meaning that there is a rich selection on offer. While the rice balls are small, this means that there are a large number of side dishes packed into the box. The all-important price is 1,200 JPY (excl. tax). The unique look of the box makes it popular with female customers.
2. Magowa Yasashi Bento
This bento is nutritionally balanced and healthy. It features 15 different dishes and rice balls divided into 9 sections. While the portions are small, this means that that it is also low in calories. This makes it perfect for those who are health conscious.
The seasonings on the side dishes are very light, giving the bento a homemade feeling. Many train station bento boxes are concerned with packing in as much food as possible but this low calorie bento instead manages to increase the number of sides. It is very healthy, making it highly popular with female patrons. The price is also quite reasonable at 799 JPY.
3. Hokuriku Roman
This maku-no-uchi bento box is packed full of delights, with everything from chirashi sushi, temari sushi (sushi balls), local delicacies like jibu-ni and chawan-mushi (savory egg custard), and even dessert. Those looking for both volume and quality are sure to be impressed by this bento. It has been on sale for almost 20 years.
While the quality inside the box is assured, the red packaging is also charming. This particular bento box is not just enjoyed by tourists but is also beloved by locals. The price, at 1,000 JPY, means that with this bento you get a good bang for your buck. Why not try this bento that is packed full of the charms of the Hokuriku Region?
4. Kanazawa Ushi Okowa
This charmingly designed bento is adorned with a cow holding a large wooden container filled with rice. The meat is strongly flavored and the seasoned rice is perfectly balanced, so meat lovers are in luck with this bento. Of course, as you would expect, there are pickled vegetables included also.
Inside the box, you will find fluffy rice packed with red beans and Kanazawa beef seasoned with a sweet sauce. One feature of this bento is the volume of beef included. Despite the amount of beef included in the bento, it is only 1,000 JPY, so it is very reasonable.
The 5 Best Bento Featuring the Local Delicacies of Kanazawa
1. Dojo no Kabayaki Bento
In Kanazawa, for those looking for a pick me up in the summer, loach is becoming more popular than the traditional eel. In Kanazawa and one part of Toyama Prefecture, loach is eaten dipped and broiled in sauce. This method of preparing it gives it a pleasant aroma and a unique bitterness. This local delicacy is faithfully recreated in this bento.
The main dish in this bento, as you would expect, is the loach. When you are suffering through the punishing summer heat, eating this can give you the stamina to perservere. It is well cooked so you will be glad to hear that you can eat even the bones. The price of this bento is 1,080 JPY including tax.
2. Kori Mura Nodoguro Kaki no Hazushi
This bento marries the popular sushi topping of blackthroat seaperch, sometimes known as the fish of Ishikawa Prefecture, with persimon leaf sushi, a product of the Kaga Region.
There are five pieces of persimmon leaf sushi in the box. This bento allows you to sample the rich and unique taste of the seaperch.
The items used in this bento are Japanese vinegared rice (used for sushi), vinegared blackthroat seaperch, kelp and pickled ginger. The expiry date is 3 days after it was produced and it should be stored below 20 degrees Celsius. The price is 1,200 JPY (excl. tax).
3. Wajima Asaichi Bento
This bento has been designed around the goods of the Wajima market and has been officially recognized by the market trader association. It is a decadent collection, full of local delights, such as oysters from the Noto Peninsula.
Inside the box you will find a wealth of seafood from the Ishikawa area with supple oysters, turban shell mollusks boiled in locally produced fish sauce and cod roe stew. The price is a reasonable and smile inducing 973 JPY.
4. Kaga no Kani Sushi
The Kaga no Kani Sushi Bento features a unique crab-themed design. It does not buckle under the weight of its name (kani sushi refers to crab meat sushi) and features red snow crab meat decadently laid out to every corner of the bento, in such volume so as to hide the rice underneath.
Inside the box you will simply find both the rice and the red snow crab meat, however, you are sure to be satisfied by their delicious taste. What about the price? Well, even though it uses so much crab, it is reasonably priced, at 1,250 JPY including tax.
5. Kanazawa Ajizukushi
This bento is comprised of a small box separated into three sections, each of which are filled with different seafood. Each of the three dishes are local delicacies of Kanazawa dressed up for a decadent feel. The box design is also quite sophisticated.
Inside the bento you will find crab, loach and northern prawns, all farmed from the sea at Kanazawa. Seafood lovers should definitely give this one a try. The price of this bento is 1,400 JPY including tax.
A Collection of the Best Bentos in Kanazawa Station
This article features an expertly curated list of the best bento boxes available at Kanazawa Station in Ishikawa Prefecture. There is a wide variety of bentos on sale in the station, made using the type of delicious delights only found in Ishikawa. Make sure to use this list whether you are on vacation or just in town for a business trip and even if only once, try one of the recommended bentos of Kanazawa Station. All of the bentos introduced here are sure to be a hit not matter whether you are young or old.
If you want to give feedback on any of our articles, you have an idea that you'd really like to see come to life, or you just have a question on Japan, hit us up on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
Translated and republished with permission from: SPIRA (formerly known as Relux Magazine)
By the way, you can book a hotel through Relux (run by SPIRA) by clicking here!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.