Tampopo is easily one of my all-time favourite Japanese movies. It has a lot of character, a general feel-good vibe and a healthy dose of Japanese wackiness for good measure.
The easiest way to describe it is a collection of short stories about food. While that doesn't sound all that exciting, it just kinda works. There are no good or bad guys in it per se, not for the whole film at least.
The main story is about a woman who runs a ramen shop, and is trained by a passing truck driver as to how to perfect the art of noodle-making. Throughout the film they engage in various shenanigans to that end, including stealing recipes, a regimented training scheme and getting the ladies yakuza friends to re-develop the shop.
But that story I'd guess takes less than half the screen time. The film is filled with lots and lots of other interesting, quirky little subplots. A yakuza gangster and his girlfriend start the movie off talking about food, get to the middle and do some very interesting things with eggs and then finish off the movie with an entirely comical death scene. The credits roll zooming in on the nipple of a mother nursing a baby, over five minutes.
It's filled with off-beat little things like this. A junior level employee leaves his executive team red-faced by showing his extensive knowledge of French cuisine and wine-pairing. On her quest for the perfect noodle, Tampopo and friends go to the park to visit a homeless shelter, where all the residents are master chefs, breaking into kitchens of nearby restaurants and creating culinary delights. A child gets an ice cream from a stranger (fresh from the dentists) when he sees a chord draped around her neck, on one end hangs a carrot and another a sign saying "I'm not allowed to eat sweets".
The film is quite easy to understand for Japanese learners. The plots aren't particularly complex and are easy to appreciate so perhaps even without subtitles you should understand perhaps 70% of whats going on.
There isn't much action, it's more of a light-hearted comedy, and it is a little dated. Still, if you're looking for a fun Japanese movie that is actually pretty good, thoroughly recommended.