Mage Wappa: Traditional Japanese Wooden Bento Box

Nowadays, a wide variety of bento boxes can be bought online outside of Japan. Some have illustrations of cute characters, while some others have a thermos function.

Among those, have you ever seen traditional Japanese wooden bento boxes called “Mage Wappa (曲げわっぱ)”?

Mage Wappa (曲げわっぱ)

Mage Wappa

Correctly, Mage Wappa refers to a cylindrical box made of bent thin wooden plates such as Japanese cedar or hinoki cypress. The wooden box has a lid and is often used as a bento box or a rice chest.

Magewappa is a traditional craft that can be seen in various areas of Japan and it has different names depending on the region, such as “Magemono (曲物)” and “Menpa (メンパ)”.


Magewappa Bento Box

Unlike plastic bento boxes, the traditional Japanese wooden box, Mage Wappa, if uncoated, absorbs moisture moderately and can keep the food inside delicious for a long time. Besides, it is light in weight so easy to carry around.

In appearance, Mage Wappa has a beautiful grain and hue. Also, it has the natural good scent of wood, and if you properly maintain it, you can use the wooden box for many years.


Basically, in maintenance, use a soft sponge, wash gently, and dry well. Don’t soak the wooden box in water for a long time. If the box has rice stuck to it tightly, soak it in water for 10 minutes or so and then remove the rice.

If your Mage Wappa has a lacquer or urethane coating, you can clean it using neutral dishwashing liquid. But if not or no coating, don’t use the soap, just wash it gently with a soft sponge and dry well naturally.

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia 曲げわっぱ, Oceans Nadia )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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