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!


Pork, yam and green beans with sweet-and-salty ginger sauce. (top left corner)

Potato cheese ball, Japanese rolled omelette, boiled broccoli and wieners.(top right corner and the middle)

Make sure the rice has cooled down before placing the cheese and nori artwork.

Ketchup rice: Cook finely chopped onion in a pan until softened and mix some ketchup in. Add rice to the pan and sauté until the rice fully absorbs the ketchup. Season with a bit of chicken stock, salt and pepper. If the rice is freshly cooked, make sure it has cooled slightly before adding it to the pan.

Today’s tip

For nori (seaweed) artwork, draw your illustration on a sheet of wax paper, then place it over a sheet of nori and cut it out. When working with a graphic cutter, cut out the details first, such as eyes, nose and mouth. Place the parts on the cheese with tweezers while referring to your original image.


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.