8 February 2023

Nature's Gift in a Bento Box

The Warmth and Comfort of Wood 
The Hollowed Out Bento Box Series 

Tasteful lunch boxes that showcase the pristine woodgrains of Kishu cypress from Wakayama Prefecture.
Experience the soft, fresh aroma and smooth texture of Kishu cypress with the Hollowed Out Bento Box Series and boost the pleasure of your bento box lunches. 


  • Kishu cypress: The perfect material for a bento box
  • How a Hollowed Out Bento Box is made
  • Can cold rice really taste this good?
  • Recommended Items

 Kishu Cypress: The perfect material for a bento box

Originating from Wakayama Prefecture, the Hollowed Out Bento Boxes are crafted using Japanese cypress.

Cypress, although slower in growth compared to cedar, has a higher density and a pleasing natural scent that makes it an ideal material to be used for building structures and lacquerware items. Additionally, its moisture buffering property enables it to absorb excess moisture and maintain a balance between the moisture level within the wood and its surroundings.

Even within a small bento box, it is this buffering property that helps prevent the rice from becoming sticky and soggy as the wood absorbs the excess moisture in the bento box. Cypress is an exceptionally ideal material to be used for manufacturing a high-quality bento box.

 How a Hollowed Out Bento Box is made

These beautiful and functional Hollowed Out Bento Boxes are made with extreme care and precision. Employing specially designed machinery to  manufacture each bento box, blocks of Japanese cypress are hollowed out perfectly to make the base of the bento box. Skilled craftsmen carefully examine each block of wood and make sure that each bento box showcases its most exquisite woodgrains. Then the bento box is hand-finished with a urethane coating and a layer of nano coating to provide a safe and strong surface to the bento box. It is understandable that only 10 Hollowed Out Bento Boxes can be manufactured in one day.

Each bento box is imbued with its own individual charm as each block of wood has differing knots and woodgrains. 

Process of Manufacturing

Hollowing Out a Block of Wood 

The first step in the manufacturing process is to hollow out blocks of Kishu cypress. Once hollowed out, craftsmen carefully inspect the hollowed out base of the bento box and then delicately sand down each one by hand.

Urethane/Nano Coating

To ensure maximum protection to the surface of the bento boxes, the sanded surface is first coated with urethane and is then given a nano-coat finish. This unique combination makes the bento box heat-resistant, abrasion-resistant and scratch-resistant. And this process allows the bento box to be washed in a dishwasher making it an ideal item to be used daily.

Durability and ease-of-use, important qualities we seek in a bento box as it is an item that we use daily.

Can cold rice really taste this good?

One of our staff members used the Hollowed Out Bento Box for a month. After using it for a whole month, what we discovered was quite amazing: even cold rice tasted better in a Hollowed Out Bento Box. 

We tried a little experiment to see how this bento box keeps cold rice tasty and fluffy. 

Here's how it turned out

We each filled a plastic bento box and a Hollowed Out Bento Box with hot white rice, then left them to cool slightly before closing their lids.


After 3 hours, we opened each bento box to check for any differences in condensation.

You can see the large droplets of water on the lid of the plastic bento box. These droplets drip onto the rice making it soggy and soft. 

On the lid of the Hollowed Out Bento Box, although there was some condensation, the droplets were extremely small and spread evenly across the lid, and did not drip onto the rice. 
The minute the lid was opened, it brought forth the subtle aroma of cypress.

Condition of the rice

Next, we checked to see the condition of the rice.

The cold rice in the plastic bento box was soggy and soft. The grains were a bit sticky and bunched together. 

The cold rice in the Hollowed Out Bento Box was not. Each grain was fairly firm and the flavor of the rice was close to its original flavor. 

Grown in the rugged, mountainous areas of Wakayama Prefecture, Kishu cypress is one of three major cypress species in Japan. Despite its challenging environment of extreme temperature differences, this tree produces stunning wood with fine growth rings.
Kishu cypress is also characterized by its excellent durability. The high oil content of Kishu cypress gives it a subdued luster and a charm that develops over time with repeated use.
The Hollowed Out Bento Boxes from Tsunoda Seibee are sure to stand the test of time and can be nurtured to be used for many years to come.

Recommended Items

Hollowed Out Bento Boxes

The long-standing history of Tsunoda Seibee Shoten, located in Wakayama Prefecture, begins in 1830 near the end of the Edo period (c.1603-1867) as a specialty store of Kishu lacquerware. The origin of the store's name dates back to the Kanei period around 1620, when the merchant Tsunoda Seibee traveled from Kishu (present-day Wakayama Prefecture and Mie Prefecture) to Edo (present-day Tokyo) on foot to sell lacquerware made in Kishu. 

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To enjoy the gyokuro that has been slowly and carefully brewed, we recommended using a finer tea cup than you would normally use.

Thinner porcelain is a better material than thick stoneware, allowing you to concentrate on the delicate flavors and aromas.

Also, a slightly smaller size, about the size of a sake cup or espresso cup, is better suited for gyokuro brewed in small quantities.

Recommended Item:
Hibino Crystal Glaze Mino Ware Tea Cup