Kyara-ben or chara-ben Culture

Have you heard of Kyara-ben or chara-ben?

It is a shortened form of character bento. As Autumn is season for sports festivals in Japan, it comes up in our conversations between moms. Moms decorate homemade food to look like cute characters in order to make their kids happy and their lunches more appealing.

If you’re interested in seeing a variety of kyara-ben, please check out the following link: “Kyara-ben Art Gallery.”They are amazing and a lot of them are real art.


Japanese moms are really good at making Kyara-ben for their kids. I am not an expert of making pretty Kyara-ben today, but when my kid starts a kindergarten, I will probably study a little bit of these arts. There are a lot of Kyara-ben recipe books and blogs out there today.

If you have a cooking lover friend, you might want to check out these recipe books as souvenir from Japan. A lot of them are self-explanatory with lots of pictures.

Although not everybody can make such a pretty kyara-ben, there are several culinary techniques most mothers in Japan know such as “apple rabbit” and “octopus sausage”. There are as easy as I could learn from my mother when I was a little girl. It's an interesting aspect of Japanese food culture which thinks highly of presentations on top of taste.

by EmiOnishi

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