Fruits in Japan


I just had the most delicious mangoes I’ve eaten in a long time I must say. While eating my mango, I suddenly remembered about TokyoMango, and then wondered how much a mango could cost in tokyo — the author of said probably knows! ^^; (why mango anyway?)

My mangoes depicted above cost roughly 80 yen/pound, or about 20 yen a piece, and have the best taste I’ve had in a while. Thinking about it, some fruits in Japan do taste better than the ones from my little Costa Rica, but others taste pretty much the same. Anyway, fruits are extremely cheap around here, and if you’re used to eating at least ten kinds of different fruits a day (me), you’ll get a huge fruit-culture shock.


I remember my Russian friend telling me that 100-yen (about US$1) bananas were the best. When I heard that one single banana could cost 100 yen I almost killed myself for not bringing 30 pounds of bananas from Costa Rica — at the time one banana cost 1 yen (yes, you read that right, one yen) in Costa Rica. Banana prices are soaring now, and unhappy locals are now forced to pay the steep price of 4 yen a piece. Anyway, I was expecting the Japabanana to taste 25 times better. I mean, Japanese are known for their animé, and giant Gundams; Costa Rica is known for coffee (I don’t drink coffee) and bananas, so as a seasoned banana expert, the 20-yen bite that I had was definitely quite a scam. (Photo credit: tokyogoat)

Just adding my two yen of humor and cheating a bit, since Costa Rica is actually one of the four leading banana exporting countries in the world. Mango may be expensive but Manga surely isn’t! The otaku stuff I purchased in Akihabara was dirt cheap — Love Hina and Shenmue were 100 yen each, so I’m more than happy with that ^^

Expensive melons in Japan

If you think bananas are the only overpriced fruit in Japan, the fun has yet to start. (Expensive) melons are popular gifts but are more famous for their ridiculous price tag — the most expensive in this picture costs 24’000 yen or roughly US$240 (most of those melons are more expensive than a Nintendo DS). Now imagine tripping over that melon stand and squashing all those melons, you would end up paying 89’000 yen (about US$900). I’ve yet to taste such an expensive melon, but normal melons taste very similar to the ones in Costa Rica. If you’re wondering how much a melon costs around here, it’s usually 100 yen a melon, or three melons for 200 yen (US$2) if you know your ways =) in fact, my mother taught me well on the art of buying on the farmer’s market, our usual purchase being 40 kilos (about 90 pounds) of fruits and vegetables for US$30.  (photo credit: Piero Sierra)

Square Japanese watermelon

But wait, add water to your melon and you get Japanese square watermelons! You’re probably acquainted with them. The kanji below reads 最高級品, literally “The best quality product”, but translated in plain English as F@#$! EXPENSIVE. (Photo credit: rumpleteaser)

My motivational phrase for today is that you should cherish the things that you’re most used to, and those whom you share  your daily life with, since you’ll end up missing them when they’re no longer there (or are too expensive!). Yes, I know, I lack all the poetical genes.

The list probably goes on and on but you probably got the idea that fruits in Japan are a bit of a pain to your wallet. So instead of eating orange for Vitamin C, I recommend buying lots of animé, manga, video games, and eating lots and lots of ramen. So, what’s your take on this one, how are fruit prices in your own country?

Fruits from my own country are...

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  1. says

    As jaw-dropping as some of the melon and mango prices get in Japan, nothing beats the mushrooms. I’ve seen a small package of ‘matsutake’ in Kyoto that cost two million yen. That’s $20,000US.

    For two or three mushrooms.

  2. says

    You know what’s bad is that Japan has put me off of eating most fruits excepting apples and oranges. Apples I can buy at a local food stall – a bag of 5 goes for about 300 yen. Oranges (the mikan variety anyway) are routinely given t o me by the truckload. I live on an island populated by fisher people and orange farmers. Loads of free vitamin C, but a massive stench of rotting citrus when people don’t eat them fast enough. It’s awful in summer when you can’t close your windows. Ha ha.

  3. Brian says

    Most of these expensive fruits are purchased for corporate gifts. The average citizen does not buy them to eat.

    In general, fruits in Tokyo are a bit more expensive than California where I used to live…but Japanese fruit is usually higher quality with less spoilage, so in general the price is not that different. California offered much more variety though, and the seasons for most fruits there was much longer due to the long growing season in southern CA and Mexico.

  4. Hao says

    Michael: I tasted those US$20,000 mushrooms, didn’t taste too good. Would have to try them again to have a better understanding as to why they’re so expensive.

    7: Rule of thumb is that the more red the mangoes, the sweeter. We eat green mangoes which have quite an acidic taste :)

    Deas: Well, at least you get enough Vitamin C! It’s the most important anyway if you don’t wanna get sick ^^ Japanese oranges are quite tasty!

    Brian: I love California, been there a couple of times and there’s definitely a lot of variety of not only fruits, but everything. Love the China and Japan Towns in San Francisco ^^

    lisa: A million what?? O__O Well, reading the article it does seem that melons can save a whole city ^o^

  5. says

    There’s a fruit stand in Shinjuku, to the left of Kinokuniya, that’s been there for ages. Best damn pineapple I’ve ever had. I always make a point of visiting that fruit stand every time I’m in Tokyo.

  6. mikiko says

    If you are from Japan or have tried fruit from Japan you would understand why its so expensive. It’s so much better than the fruits in America, especially the grapes!

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