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Japanese Obentō Activities

Students look at photos, video and a song to learn about the components of おべんとう.

Activity 1

Show students photos of an おべんとう and lunch time at Japanese high school and check the names of food items. これは、にんじんです。にんじんがすきですか。The following video shows how おべんとう fits into the school day.

Activity 2

Chant the おべんとう Song, and introduce the accompanying gestures, such as showing two fingers while singing にんじん.
これくらいの おべんとうばこに  Into an obentō box of about this size
おにぎり おにぎり ちょっとつめて  We just put some onigiri, onigiri
きざみしょうがに ごましおふって We sprinkle sesame seeds on chopped ginger
にんじんさん さくらんぼさん  Carrots, cherries
しいたけさん ごぼうさん Mushrooms, burdock roots
あなのあいた れんこんさん Lotus root with holes
すじのとおったふき Stringy butterbur

Using the おべんとう Song worksheet, students can create their own version of the song, with おべんとう ingredients that they would choose for themselves.

Obentō Song (Word 660KB)

Activity 3: Making an おべんとう

Show a short movie of how to make たこさんウインナー (octopus wiener), one of the most popular おべんとう components among children in Japan.
How to make Octopus Wieners Video:
If students would like to try making おべんとう containing octopus sausage at home, they can follow these instructions.

Make an Obentō at Home (PDF 505KB)

Additional Resources

  • Teacher’s Notes: Obentō
Teacher’s Notes Obentō (PDF 69KB)

Resource created by Himiko Negishi-Wood (April 2006).

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