JR East begins sales of ‘ekiben’ boxed meals at Paris station


East Japan Railway Co. has opened a pop-up shop for ekiben (train boxed meals) at Paris station Gare de Lyon in an effort to promote Japanese food culture globally from one of the world’s gourmet capitals.

The shop is slated to remain open until the end of April. It is the first time that JR East has set up a store overseas to sell ekiben, which are traditionally sold at train stations.

According to Nippon Restaurant Enterprise Co., a JR East unit that operates the shop, five kinds of ekiben are available, including Bento Makuno-Uchi and Bento Onigiri, with prices ranging from €8 to €15.

“As people in France have understanding in Japanese culture, I hope they will also enjoy ekiben,” Nippon Restaurant President Katsumi Asai said.

A 36-year-old Parisian who lined up at the shop said that he was fascinated by ekiben when he traveled to Japan, adding that enjoying meals on trains is not a practice common to French people.

JR East was initially slated to open the ekiben shop in December last year. But the launch was put off in the wake of the terror attacks in the French capital in November.