Ready to jazz up your meal in the most adorable way? Put some fun in your lunch box with your own kyara-ben.

Known as the “character bento,” the kyara-ben is a great way to get artistic with lunch—not to mention the secret weapon of many creative parents with fussy kids to feed. With shapes ranging from cute, simple faces to incredible likenesses of popular characters, there’s no end to the possibilities!


Cut a piece of boiled carrot into an “M” shape.

Add some ketchup to cooked rice and stir until well-mixed. Using your hands and plastic wrap, mould the rice to form the hat and its brim.

Add some mentsuyu (soup base) to cooked rice and form the face, ears and nose.

Cut a slice of cheese to make the decoration on the cap, the whites of
the eyes and the sparkles on the pupils.

Cut a sheet of nori (seaweed) to make the eyebrows, pupils, hair and mustache.

Chicken kara-age, sweet-and-salty stewed konnyaku (or konjac root), Japanese rolled omelette and broccoli.(top part of the kyara-ben)

Today’s tip

It’s easier to mould rice while it is still warm. Use a little mayo to glue down the cut pieces of nori, sliced cheese and boiled carrot. Stick them in place after the rice cools down, since they may melt or shrink on hot rice.

Rie Kamiyama

Mother of two sons, aged 9 and 14 years old. Started making Kyara-ben six years ago when her son came back home without finishing the lunch she made him.