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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogBest Japanese Fruit: The 10 Most Expensive!

Best Japanese Fruit: The 10 Most Expensive!

Alana JuricAlana Juric
Published Time
Posted on 
May 29, 2021
An assortment of Japanese fruit.

In the basement of Japan’s luxury department stores, there’s always a particular area lined with temperature-controlled glass display cases. Inside those cases is not jewelry or artwork, but fruit. Super expensive fruit. But why is Japanese fruit so expensive?

This list covers the 10 most expensive Japanese fruit you can buy in Japan and what makes them so rare! So be sure to read to the end about Japan’s most expensive one!

10. White Jewel: $10 for one strawberry

A plate of White Jewel strawberries, a type of Japanese fruit.
White strawberries are rare in Japan! Image via Shutterstock

These strawberries are pure white. The strawberries grow with less sunlight to obtain their hue. This reduces the amount of anthocyanin, the chemical that gives regular strawberries their color. Even though the absence of color makes them look almost unripe, each white strawberry is lovely!

9. The Dekopon Citrus: $13 per orange

A couple of Dekopon citrus fruits against a black background.
Dekonpon is a variety of Satsuma oranges. Image via Shutterstock

This Japanese fruit is a hybrid of a mandarin and an orange. It’s larger and sweeter than a usual orange and is supposedly the most delicious citrus in the world. It’s also seedless, making it easier to eat and harder to cultivate.

8. The Sekai Ichi Apple: $21 per appple

A plate of sliced Sekai Ichi apples on a green gingham table.
Sekai Ichi apples taste like honey. Image via Shutterstock

“Sekai Ichi” means “the best in the world,” at $21 each, that had better be true! Farmers wash the apples in honey before going on sale, several times the size of ordinary apples. Does that make them worth the hefty price tags? That will have to be up to you!

7. The Zentsuji Watermelon: $94 per melon

A bunch of square Zentsuji watermelons.
These watermelons come from Kagawa Prefecture! Image via Shutterstock

These watermelons are from Zentsuji, in Kagawa Prefecture. What makes them so unique? The melons are square! Farmers grow them in square molds, only produce 200 a year, and harvest them before they ripen for more extended durability! However, these high-priced, square watermelons are mainly for display since they aren’t fully mature. 

6. The Taiyo no Tamago Mango: $100 per fruit

A bunch of mangoes from Japan.
Taiyo no tamago means “egg of the sun”. Image via Shutterstock

This mango’s name means “Egg of the Sun,” and they are worthy of such an extravagant title. Each egg of the sun mango must weigh 350 grams, have a sugar content of 15 percent or more, and have at least half of its color be a deep red. The mangos’ price starts at $50, but most go for around 100$. So far, the most expensive pair was a $4,500 pair in 2019.

5. The Sembikiya Muskmelon: $150 per melon

A plate of green melon slices, which a whole melon in the back. These are Sembikiya melons.
Sembikiya melons are carefully grown in Shizuoka greenhouses. Image via Shutterstock

This green-fleshed melon from Shizuoka Prefecture is so juicy it melts in your mouth! Only one melon grows per stem, so a single melon gets all the plant’s nutrients. They also grow in south-facing, temperature, and moisture-controlled glass greenhouses. All in all, the melon’s growth conditions are perfect, producing an ideal fruit!

4. The Yubari King Melon: $200 per melon

Yubari King melons come from Yubari in Hokkaido Prefecture, Northern Japan. To be more specific, the farmers grow Yubari King melons in greenhouses. Volcanic ash is added to the melons’ soil, and the farmers protest the precious fruit in little sun hats!

Fresh orange scoops of Yubari King melon, a Japanese fruit.
Yubari King melon is one of the most famous melons in the world. Image via Shutterstock

They are then carefully hand-cut from the vine, leaving a portion of their stems. Finally, the melons go through a rigorous selection process. The melons’ rinds cannot have scars; they must have the right proportions and a high enough sugar content. 

The Yubari King Melon is rare and costs over a million yen too! The first harvested pair of Yubari melons are always auctioned off for incredible prices. In 2019, a couple of Yubari Melons was once sold at auction for the sky-high cost of 5 million yen, or about $45,000, making it one of the most expensive fruits ever sold in Japan and worldwide!

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3. Densuke Watermelon: $250 per watermelon

Hokkaido’s Densuke watermelon is characterized by its black skin and exceptional sweetness. However, only 100 melons are grown yearly, making them valuable. The most expensive of these watermelons ever sold was at an auction in 2008. It was priced at 650,000 yen per ball, or $6,000!

A bunch of Densuke watermelons in a market, which is a type of Japanese fruit.
These watermelons come from Hokkaido. Image via Shutterstock

2. Ruby Roman Grapes: from $357 to $4,000 for a bunch

Slices of Ruby Roman grapes in yogurt. They are a type of Japanese fruit.
Ruby Roman grapes are very juicy! Image via Shutterstock

The “Ruby Roman” grape is grown in Ishikawa Prefecture. To be sold, the grapes must weigh 20 grams each and have a sugar content of 18 percent. A bunch of these grapes (usually only sold in bunches of about 25) once went for $11,000 at an auction held in Kanazawa in 2017.

1. Bijin-hime Strawberries: $4,000 per strawberry

A box of Bijin-hime strawberries.
“Bijin-hime” means beautiful princess. Image via Shutterstock

Bijin-hime means “beautiful princess.” They are grown by Okuda Nichio at Okuda farm in Gifu Prefecture, and it took him 15 years to perfect. The strawberries are sweet like honey, shaped like a “scoop,” and the size of a fist! Nichio only sells 500 prized fruits yearly, adding to their rarity. According to CNN, one of the giant strawberries usually goes for around 500,000 yen ($4,395).

Why is Japanese fruit so expensive?

Since ancient times, in Japan, people would offer food gifts to shrines and graves to ensure a good connection with their gods and ancestors during the mid-year and end-of-year festivals. Later, these traditions led to sharing the food with family and friends and participating in the rituals.

Eventually, this led to giving family, friends, and superiors food gifts during holidays. Of course, the rarer the food, the better the present, and at the time, before modern growing techniques, any fruit would have been a luxury. Hence, the idea of fruit as a luxury gift.

Today, fruit is still considered a luxurious gift worthy of giving to business partners, at a wedding, or to impress your boss. Some wealthy people like collecting high-end fruit as a hobby or spending thousands of dollars for publicity at auctions.

A basket of rich Kyoho grapes.
What kind of expensive grapes would you like? Image via Shutterstock

But even ordinary people in Japan might buy somewhat expensive fruit gifts. A fifty-dollar box of strawberries for a special occasion or to show someone how much you appreciate them is not uncommon here.

Finally, as fruit has grown ever closer to perfection, cultivation methods have grown increasingly demanding. A single specimen may need decades of research, breeding, and tests, not to mention all the imperfect produce that gets thrown away. It costs a lot to produce such sweet, beautiful fruit. 

Do you think luxury Japanese fruit is worth the price? Which of these fruits would you like to try? Let us know!

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Author avatar
Alana Juric

1 Responses

Kody says
May 18, 2023, 9:05 AM

I want to try the Ruby Roman Grapes. As someone who’s studied Viticulture and enology for over a decade, I’m no stranger to spending 3-4 digits on a good bottle of wine, but for the last couple of years I’ve made a bit of a hobby of exploring the other end of the process. Typically It’s wine grapes I’ve dabbled with, but occasionally it’s been choice pieces of fruit. The most I’ve ever spent on fruit was $200 for 1 KG of grapes from a particular Vineyard (not counting the $1300 I spent to fly over there in the first place!), and it was worth every cent. Twas an experience I’ll never forget, these sound like they’d be a step beyond that!


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