Japan’s festivals, some of which date as far back as the Heian Period bring out a rainbow of culinary staples that in many cases has remained largely unchanged for generations.

Cherry blossom Festival (Hanami): Japan dedicates a whole day to its much loved cherry blossom trees. When they bloom in April, Japanese get together for flower-viewing parties or hanami, with a generous supply of bento meals and drinks.

Doll Festival (Hina Matsuri): The highlight of this festival which celebrates young girls, is a red rice preparation called seki-han. Special sushi, mochi rice cakes and sake are also served.

New Year’s Day (Oshogatsu): The lavish traditional cuisine served over the seven days of this festival is called osechi ryori. Symbolising prosperity and good health, the items featured in it include beans, konbu seaweed, herring roe, lotus root and mushrooms.

Seven-five-three Festival (Shichi-go-san Matsuri): This festival celebrates landmark ages in the lives of young children. Naturally, the cuisine of this day is directed at their tastes: candy and rice cooked with azuki beans.

Star Festival (Gion Matsuri): This famous summer religious festival is centered in the city of Kyoto. The culinary highlight here is the pike conger fish or hamo.

Dishes like sushi, sashimi and tempura have been ambassadors of Japanese cuisine around the world. But they are only a part of treasure trove waiting to be discovered. With this compilation we encourage you to help yourself to this repertoire of Japanese food available at Edo, ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru and at Pan Asian in ITC Hotels at WelcomHotel New Delhi, ITC Maratha in Mumbai, ITC Sonar in Kolkata and ITC Grand Chola, Chennai.