On long-distance trains there’ll almost always be a trolley, laden with overpriced drinks and snacks, being pushed down the aisle. You’re generally better off both financially and in culinary terms packing your own picnic for the train, but useful fallbacks are the station noodle stands and the ekiben, a contraction of eki (station) and bentō (boxed meal). At the station noodle stalls you can get warming bowls of freshly made hot noodles, usually soba or the thicker udon, for under ¥500. Ekiben, often featuring local speciality foods, are sold both on and off the trains and come in a wide range of permutations. If you have time, pop into a convenience or department store close to the station for a more keenly priced selection of bentō.

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