Welcome to our second annual JICC Bento Design Contest! 🍱

Your bento design does not necessarily need to be a character bento (キャラ弁), incredibly large, or elaborate. A creation of your own design that expresses your creativity is completely fine. For official rules and how to enter, click here. We look forward to seeing all your bento designs!

Bento (弁当) are Japanese lunch boxes. The Japanese packed lunch, or bento, has a long history that dates all the way back to medieval times, but its modern incarnation as a form of aesthetic and culinary expression has been developing for about a century. The purpose of the bento, expressed in the first kanji, ben (弁), meaning convenience, is just to provide a meal that is accessible while away from home. Bento are comprised of a variety of food in a variety of colors, meant to cover many nutritional needs. The practice of arranging the multicolored foods into patterns and pictures is an art form that is still evolving.

Please note that the first place winner must reside in the United States in order to receive the physical prize. Those from outside the US will not be considered for first place, but can still enter and potentially be featured on our website and social media.

Want to see entries from last year's Bento Design Contest? View the gallery here!

Contest Winners

1st Place: Peter T. - Summer Cicada Curry Bento

2nd Place: Yuri S. - Mosaic Sushi Bento

3rd Place: Li-Wen Q. Cherry Blossoms and Bird

Ken E. C.

Honorable Mentions

Aichin J. - Cucumber Beetle in Home Garden

Cecilia M. - Bento Cake

Li-Wen Q. - Two Mandarin Ducks playing in water

Peter T. - Karuta Bento

Sao R. - Ninja in forest bento

Shikha B. - Bento for Mommy

Yuri S. - Bento Buffet

Shikha B. - Daddy's Favorite Bento

Tha S. - Circle Bento

Michelle - Air and Water Bento


Deadline: Designs must be received via Instagram or email (jicc@ws.mofa.go.jp) by July 14 at 5:00 PM EDT.

Eligibility: Our contest is open to the public.

Regulations: You may submit up to two (2) entries. Designs must be the contestant's original artwork, not taken directly from any manga, or anime, a website, or other image or artwork protected by copyright. Any designs suspected of plagiarism or copyright violations will be disqualified without notice.

Submissions: Designs must be received via Instagram by tagging us at @japanembdc, using #JICCBento2021, or via email at jicc@ws.mofa.go.jp. Your bento image can be one that you've made in the past.

Your submission should include:

  • Name
  • State and Country
  • Brief description of the bento

Personal information of minors will be restricted when published and destroyed within a month of publication. Parental or guardian consent is required for children under the age of 13. Please see our privacy policy, linked at the bottom of this page, for more information.

First place winner, runner ups, and honorable mentions will be featured on the JICC website and social media.
Only first place is eligible for a physical prize.

For additional questions, comments, and rule clarifications, please email the JICC at jicc@ws.mofa.go.jp.