While Maneki Foods has its roots in Himeji, it is presently aiming for growth around Japan and the world around. Ekiben and Ekisoba are loved by visitors in Himeji, therefore we have now made Ekisoba available for purchase as a gift for those wanting to bring it back and share it with others (or enjoy it for themselves).
At Maneki Foods we believe it is important to protect a certain part of the foundation of what constitutes our products and company. However, no matter how difficult it may be, we believe it is essential to adapt with the changing times. We also believe it is crucial to continue to protect tradition while trying new things without maintaining the status quo.
It is Maneki Food’s aim to bring our bento and Ekisoba to the world.
Greeting from the owner
Including the last year, there has been an increasing number of visitors to Japan and Himeji. I am reminded of the long rich history of Himeji and Himeji Castle and how Maneki Foods has been fortunate to have been a part of that history with the introduction of Japan’s first “Ekiben” and “Ekisoba”. Locations are available near the station and near Himeji Castle where people can enjoy our bento and Ekisoba, as well as a Japanese restaurant “Chikuzen” where people can enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine and hospitality. For those doing some sightseeing in Himeji, please enjoy our bento or Ekisoba at one of our restaurants, and for those wanting to relax and enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine please try our Japanese restaurant “Chikuzen”.
The history of Maneki Foods and “Ekiben” and “Ekisoba”
The name of the company “Maneki”, comes from the Japanese word “o-maneki” which means “to invite a customer or guest”.
Maneki Foods was established near Himeji station in 1888 when the tea house owner Kihachi Takeda received special approval to sell his bento around the premises of the station. The following year he began selling bentos which was the first time that the popular “Makunouchi bento” was sold in Japan.
In 1949 Maneki Foods was drawing up plans to sell noodles at Himeji Station. However, it being a turbulent and chaotic time after the war, an easy way needed to be found to come up with an alternative to using wheat flour (which was highly regulated) without using any large machines or advanced equipment. Maneki Foods starting sale of soba (buckwheat) noodles which was the result of a mix of konjac (konnyaku) flour and soba flour. After this, through trial and error, the result was the birth of the interesting combination of using Chinese noodles and Dashi (Japanese stock).
On October 19, 1949 it was named “Ekisoba” and sale of it began on the platform of the station.
Ekisoba has carried on to the present day where customers can purchase it as a gift (dried noodles). For those taking a bullet train from Himeji, they can purchase Ekiben (Ekiben=bento) at Himeji station and enjoy it on the train.
Himeji has a lot of history to enjoy. If in Himeji, please enjoy some of our products.