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Cute “Chara-Ben” classes on our main stage!


The Japan Centre’s master Japanese chef Kinu Yukawa will be demonstrating how you can jazz up your lunchtimes with a little bit of kawaii at our Christmas Market, as she takes her “Chara-ben” (Kyaraben/Character Bento) lessons to our main stage on Friday and Saturday morning!

K Yukawa
Kinu Yukawa has travelled the world on her palate. She was brought up in the gourmet city of Kobe, and later arrived in London via New York, Hong Kong, and the École Ritz Escoffier, Paris. Trained in the art of Japanese cuisine by the master chefs in Kyoto. Kinu is the Food Creative & Cooking Instructor at Japan Centre.

Kyaraben are now a noted cultural and culinary phenomenon in Japan. Recipe books, websites, and Flickr groups all celebrate the creativity and imagination of these cutest of cooking achievements. They are assumed to have started out as a way to get kids to eat their lunches, before becoming widespread, whether as a result of an inherent love of kawaii, frustrated creative instincts, competitive parenting, or simply just enjoying cooking up cute food to make your kids smile. The abundance of recipe suggestions and inspiration on the web mean that there’s barely a popular character that hasn’t been made into a bento–just take a look at these:

While not on the level of Chef Yukawa’s work, this video will give you a brief introduction to the world of Chara-Bento! Come down on Friday or Saturday morning and learn some more advanced techniques.