Fresh meats, colourful seasoning, and a reputation for being notoriously healthy – Japanese food has it all. Japan is a country of beguiling cuisine with each mouthful allowing for a satisfied smile. Its diet is based on rice and seasonal products like fruit and herbs, and meats available at every market, round the clock.

A trip to Japan is truly complete only when you sit down in the company of beautiful cherry blossoms, and pick your way through a plate of sushi and sashimi, gomaae and gyudon. If these delights do not suit your fancy, here are a few others you simply have to sample

Tonkatsu: Usually served with a side of shredded cabbage and miso soup, Tonkatsu is Japanese cuisine at its most fun form. This dish is made of breaded, deep-fried pork. The real treat is the hint of ginger and honey, combined with the richness of tomato puree. Garnished with a sprig of coriander, this dish is sure to bring a smile to your face.

Soba: A staple of Japanese cuisine for centuries, Soba is a dish made of thin, long, buckwheat noodles dunked in hot, tempting, soy sauce, or a thick broth. Sometimes, the noodles are served plain, with a healthy helping of broth on the side. The zesty spring to Soba comes from a toss of shredded spring onions and a squeeze of lime.

Tempura: Lighter than air, and crisper than chips, Tempura is Japan’s contribution to the world’s fried foods. Crispy prawns with a tempting wasabi mayo and tangy sweet chilli pepper dip to make the perfect nibble, Tempura is often served with thin slices of radish and soy-sauce flavoured broth. The crunch of prawns coupled with the chilli dip makes for the best dish to bite into with a tall drink by your side.

Okonomiyaki: Comfort food or fun food? You can have both with Okonomiyaki. Straying from the classic, adorned dishes Japanese menus boast, Okonomiyaki is fun food at its best. It is a savoury pancake, usually filled with minced pork and cabbage. But the fun lies in the toppings – fish flakes, mayonnaise, coriander, and drops of tangy sauce to tickle the senses.

Ochazuke: Far from haute cuisine, but as wonderful as sunshine, Ochazuke is chicken soup with a Japanese twist. It is a bowl full of flavour, combing the goodness of white rice, served with green tea and dashi kelp broth, topped with salmon flakes, pickled plums and, for the fancier side of you, tuna marinated in soy sauce.