Photo: すしぱく on Pakutaso

The Unique Fruits of Japan

Japan is a country of "narrow land, crowded people", so there is almost no land for agricultural production. Nevertheless, Japan is known as a paradise of both delicious and expensive types of fruit.

In Japan, there are delicious and rare fruit shops in Tokyo called "senbikiya". Of course, there are supermarkets selling common types of fruit at reasonable prices but senbikiya sell pricier but higher quality fruits. Also, you can visit famous fruit gardens recently opening to tourists in Yamanashi, Aomori, Wakayama, Ehime, etc. 

Photo by 江戸村のとくぞう on Wikimedia Commons.

Here are some typical types of fruit in Japan.

Aomori Apples

Photo by fto mizno on Flickr.

Fuji apples from Aomori prefecture are particular examples for both delicious and eye-catching types of fruit. When people first see these apples, they wonder what makes them some of the most popular in Japan and even in the world? The taste, the weight, the size, the color, what? Actually, this breed of apple is relatively new. Created by growers at Tohoku Research Station in Fujisaki, Aomori in 1962, Fuji apples have been consistently popular in Japan since they were made and have achieved popularity around the world. If you are going to visit Japan in the apple harvest season (September–November), be sure to get a few of these fresh.

Ruby Roman Grapes

Photo by Sugaaaaa "LFLC" on Flickr.

Japanese grapes are also very famous for their tastiness and sweetness. Yamanashi has many vineyards and are home grown in the country. The prices also vary and are decided based on the cultivation conditions. Ruby Roman is the most well-known type of grape grown in Ishikawa, Japan. It's planted under a very strict quality control, so the price is unbelievably expensive. The quality and price of Ruby Roman grapes depends on their size and weight. It is said that a high-quality bunch of Ruby Roman must reach at least 700g and it can easily be sold at the price of $100 or more.

Yubari Melons

Photo by Tzuhsun Hsu on Flickr.

Hokkaido is the main area of melon cultivation. There are various types of melons including types of green meat, yellow meat, and white meat. Melon is a very favorite type of fruit in the spring and summer because of its mild sweetness and juiciness.

Yubari (a small town in Hokkaido) melon is also called Yubari King because of its special flavor. The unique features of Yubari melon are eye-catching orange-yellow flesh, perfectly round shape and tight net pattern. Because of its special taste, Yubari melon is always sold at high prices. It's not difficult to see pairs of Yubari melon displayed in the shop with the price of ¥20,000-¥40,000. The best quality Yubari melon is even sold at much higher prices.

Tochiotome Strawberries

Photo by tamba sc on Flickr.

Japan is a dominant country all over the world in consuming and planting strawberries. The color and shape of Japanese strawberries are really very eye-catching. Most of strawberries are sweet but contain different sugar levels. The sizes of Japanese strawberries are not the same. Some are big while some are small. There are many different types of strawberries widely grown from Hokkaido to Okinawa, so the quantity of strawberries are always enough to meet the market's demand throughout the year. Tochigi is the strawberry capital of Japan where farmers can plant the best quality of strawberries called Tochiotome. When being ripened, Tochiotome strawberries are brightly red, sweet and scented. 

Black-rind Watermelons

Photo by amanderson2 on Flickr.

Watermelon is a typical type of summer fruit (from June to August). Here, you have opportunities to see types of watermelon with different shapes and colors such as square watermelon and black-rind watermelon. Created by graphic designer Tomoyuki Ono in 1978, this type of square watermelon was meant to be the appropriate size for refrigerators. To produce square watermelons, farmers put immature watermelons into boxes and they become squared by harvest season. These special types of watermelon are often sold at high prices. Even wealthy people pay three or four times more to have this type of fruit.

Photo by 江戸村のとくぞう on Wikimedia Commons.

The type of black-rind watermelon is planted in Hokkaido. This type of fruit is very rare and famous for its fabulous sweetness. It is said that there are only about 10,000 black-rind watermelons harvested every year.

Due to the limited harvest, the price of this type of watermelon can rapidly increase in auction sessions. It's called the king of watermelon types. It's bred from two types of red-flesh watermelon with the perfect sweetness. The black-rind watermelons are often sold in pairs and used as luxurious gifts to important people. The best watermelon must be perfectly round and the rind must be perfectly smooth. A pair of black-rinds is often sold at the price of $100-200 in Japan.

I should conclude that fruit in Japan is seen as more of a desert or luxury than other foods. This is due to Japan's very tiny patch of farm land and high demand for fruit. So when you visit a supermarket and see the Japanese grown fruit is slightly more expensive than the imported one, it is likely that fruit is tastier and sweeter because it was grown on Japanese soil.

From fruit picking tours to delicious fruit recipes come see what kinds of fruity experiences Japan can offer.

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