(CNN) — Visitors to a hot spring in central Japan will soon be able to snack on $460 grapes, or rather, grape.
“We would like to convey to our customers our exhilaration when we held the (box of) grapes.”
Ruby Roman grapes, grown in central Japan, are among the most expensive in the world, prized for their sweetness and low acidity.
Ruby Red grapes were developed in Ishikawa and first came to market in 2008. They’ve been hugely popular ever since, with only a select number being sold to keep demand and exclusivity levels high. Kyodo reported that number would be 26,000 this year, though not all will sell for the record prices seen at the Kanazawa auction.
Expensive fruit, prized for their appearance and taste, are a key luxury good in Japan, bought as gifts or for promotional purposes by businesses.
In Japan, there’s a specialty fruit craze sweeping the nation, from square watermelons to grapes the size of Ping-Pong balls. Still, the crown jewel of the luxury fruit basket is the white strawberry, bred to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot sweeter than its classic red counterpart.
These can often be uniquely shaped or colored fruit, which are painstakingly cultivated or forced to grow in a specific way, such as square watermelons, heart-shaped strawberries or the albino White Jewel strawberries grown in Karatsu, on Japan’s southern Kyushu Island.
“Everyone is surprised when they see a white strawberry,” farmer Yasuhito Teshima told CNN’s Great Big Story. Because of the difficulty of growing the strawberry and protecting them from blemishes or damage — which shows up far more on white than red fruit — he is only able to sell around 10% of his crop. Packs of the strawberries cost around $40 each.
That’s nothing compared to Okuda Nichio’s “scoop-shaped” Beautiful Princess strawberries, tennis ball sized red fruit that go for about 500,000 yen ($4,395) each. Only around 500 of the strawberries are produced every year.
Carefully shaped watermelons are among the expensive fruit prized in Japan as gifts.
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