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!



How to make the face?

To make Maruko-chan’s face, mix in some men-tsuyu (soup base) to colour the rice. Her hair, eyebrows, eyes and mouth are cut-out nori. Place boiled carrot slices on her cheeks.

Top right corner,

Stir-fried chicken breast with chili sauce, sweet-and-salty stewed pork with konnyaku (konjac root), sweet potato with butter and soy sauce, Japanese rolled omelette and broccoli.

For the cheese word-board,
a message for your loved one! Cut out nori to make the message, then place it on sliced cheese.

Today’s tip

Make edible toothpicks by deep-frying a couple of spaghetti noodles. They can be used as fixers when placing thicker pieces, such as the sliced, boiled carrots on the cheeks.


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.