2016.3.21
Gourmet Kagawa

Popular Local Dish to Lunchbox! Marugame’s Famous, Spicy, Juicy Bone-in Chicken @ JR Takamatsu Station!

Did you know that a group in Marugame city, Kagawa prefecture has made a public promise to change the city’s name to “Honetsukidori city” (‘Bone-in chicken’ city)?!

(Source: “Zenryokudori” Homepage)

Picture text: 

We promise to change the name of Marugame city to Honetsukidori city. We have a crispy, juicy plan to make Marugame city the Honetsukidori city of the “udon prefecture”. Those of you who have yet to visit our city, do try of our famed honetsukidori at least once. We are convinced that you will feel the same as we do.

 -Japan’s Honetsukidori Party

In recent years honetsukidori, which is chicken thigh grilled on the bone, has become a local dish representative of Kagawa prefecture along with udon noodles. Though it is said to have originated at a certain restaurant in Marugame city, lately the number of restaurants serving honetsukidori has increased, which has made the dish more widely accessible within the prefecture. 

And finally, IT happened?!  To find out if the rumors were true, I visited JR Takamatsu station’s… 

Lunchbox shop. That’s right, I’m talking about the boxed lunches sold at train stations! In April 2015, Marugame’s famed honetsukidori lunchbox was introduced as a new menu item. It has also become popular at Takamatsu station, which is frequented by both sightseers and business travellers alike. 

This is it! It’s so easy to spot. However, I wonder if something so luxurious as this is actually inside the box… With a heart filled with expectation and worry, I buy the lunch box. And as the Japanese custom is to eat them on the train, I decided to have mine while traveling on the limited express!

I pull the short string and a bit of steam comes out. “Oh no, will the aroma disturb other passengers!!” I was worried for a bit, but it didn’t really smell that much. Later, I heard from a JR staff member that the boxed lunches are made with less garlic (but full flavor) in consideration of those who eat it on the train. 

This is the honetsukidori lunchbox, warmed up by the steam I just mentioned. Finally it’s time to unbox it!  

There really is a chicken thigh in the box!! It has been fried golden, and looks absolutely delicious. I repeat, rest assured there isn’t really much of a smell to bother other passengers. 

As it’s a rare opportunity, I capture the box together with the train window. I just love traveling. 

Making it even more delicious, pouring on the “chiu” oil that come with it adds some roundness and depth to the spicy, juicy chicken! The rice is simply seasoned with soy sauce, a perfect match. I was truly satisfied, and can understand well why the dish is so popular.

If you have the chance to visit Kagawa prefecture, do have a try of the honetsukidori lunchbox! It’s sure to spread a feeling of warm happiness throughout your body!

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JR Takamatsu station, lunch box shop

Location: In front of JR Takamatsu station’s 1st floor “Midori no madoguchi” service counter
Business hours: 7:20-20:00
Inquiries: 087-851-7710 (Station Create Higashi Shikoki Co., Ltd.)

*Honetsukidori lunch boxes are also sold within Marugame station’s kiosks and some limited express trains.


Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Izumi Furukawa

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Izumi Furukawa

Izumi Furukawa

Izumi Furukawa Hello. My name is Izumi Furukawa and I was born in Kagawa Prefecture. Before getting married in 2012, I wrote for various magazine companies and Internet based media organizations in Tokyo. After marrying, I moved to Hiroshima and am now raising my child as well as writing stories about my fascination with this area through Setouchi Finder. Most of the articles I write are about places I visit on weekends with my family. My favorite driving course is Route 375 from Saijyo to the Miyoshi Area, and my favorite food from the Hiroshima area is Anagomeshi (from Miyajima)!!

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