Expensive and rare items like jewelry, historic artifacts, and paintings, etc. are kept behind elaborate glass cases to be adored and admired mainly due to their intrinsic and or historic value. This fruit shop in Japan gives somewhat the same respect and reverence to their high-quality fruit; and after you see their pictures, you wouldn’t disagree.
This is Sembikiya, Japan’s oldest fruit shop, where fruit is treated like any gold or silver commodity. The fruits are packaged and sold just like an elaborate gift, particularly because of their extraordinary appearance. From heart-shaped watermelons to huge “Ruby Roman” grapes and giant strawberries, every fruit is a piece of art and the result of meticulous hard work in growing them.
CNN reports that one queen strawberry known as Bijin-hime, meaning “beautiful princess,” takes about 45 days to grow, which is then sold for over 500,000 yen ($4,395) each!
You think that’s crazy? The shop sold a premium Hokkaido cantaloupe for a record $27,240 (3 million yen) in 2016. People usually don’t buy these fruit for their average fruit salad, but rather to present as a gift on special occasions.
Dean of the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Soyeon Shim, told CNN,
“Fruits are treated differently in Asian culture and in Japanese society especially. Fruit purchase and consumption are tied to social and cultural practices. It is not only an important part of their diet, but, perhaps more importantly, fruit is considered a luxury item and plays an important and elaborate ritual part in Japan’s extensive gift-giving practices.”
Japanese also use fruits in religious ceremonies and offer it to the gods at home altars.
Even the packaging of these mind-blowing fruits is a sight to revel, as single strawberries are sold boxes akin to jewelry cases, while melons are packaged in highly decorated wooden boxes. And it is not all appearances either, as the consumers also claim that they have never tasted anything better than this.