Photo/IllutrationHanazen’s “Torimeshi Bento” boxed lunch will be sold at Gare de Lyon station in Paris for one month from Oct. 30 as part of Japonismes 2018 celebrations. (Provided by Hanazen)

ODATE, Akita Prefecture--It's perhaps not quite Michelin five-star fare, but “ekiben” boxed lunches that are a distinctive feature of traveling by rail in Japan will soon be sold at Gare de Lyon train station in Paris.

Parisiens and travelers will be able to try “Torimeshi Bento,” a specialty of tasty chicken pieces atop rice served in a box from Odate-based Hanazen, for one month from Oct. 30.

The word ekiben combines “eki” (station) with bento, boxed lunch.

Hanazen and four other long-established companies will offer their ekiben products at the French National Railway Co. station as part of the Japonismes 2018 event to promote Japanese culture.

“We want to show that even a local company can expand overseas,” said Hanazen President Shuichi Yagihashi. “We want to promote the idea of travelers on the TGV and other French trains tucking into ekiben.”

Torimeshi Bento, representing the northern prefecture of Akita, is a dish of steamed rice flavored with a proprietary secret soup and soy sauce, with salty-sweet cooked chicken pieces placed on top.

It was ranked first in a popularity poll organized by East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) in 2015.

Hanazen will procure the Akitakomachi brand of rice and other ingredients in France. Each ekiben will sell for 12 euros ($13.75).

In addition to Torimeshi Bento, “Hipparidako-meshi” from Hyogo Prefecture, “Charolais-gyu Aburi-yaki Bento” from Iwate Prefecture and four other ekiben will also be offered during the campaign.

The project is an initiative of JR East and Nippon Restaurant Enterprise Co. (NRE) as part of efforts to establish business models for international operations.

It will be the second time since 2016 for ekiben meals to be sold in France. NRE was the only company that brought ekiben to France last time around.

Japonismes 2018 kicked off in July to mark the 160th anniversary of Japan-France friendship.

Special exhibitions, stage performances and other events are being held in Paris and elsewhere through February.