Not Just Miyazaki Mangoes, Japan Has A Yen For Luxury Fruit
Image Credit: Mango grown in Miyazaki prefecture, Japan. Shutterstock

ON Saturday, 3 June, news reports stated that a Miyazaki mango found growing in a West Bengal mosque’s compound, was sold for over Rs 10,000. Unlike the mangoes we’re accustomed to, the Miyazaki fruit is a deep purplish-red. It sells for as much as Rs 2.7 lakhs a kilo. Each mango can weigh up to 350 gm and has a sugar content that’s almost 15 percent higher than that of regular mango varieties. It is grown in Miyazaki in Japan’s Kyushu prefecture, and it is the place that gives the fruit its name. They’re also known colloquially as the “eggs of the sun”, or Taiyo No Tamago mango.

The Miyazaki mango sold in West Bengal seemingly comes from a batch of nine fruits, all produced on a single tree that was planted in a Dubrajpur mosque’s compound by a local youth. Reports state that the youth has since passed away, so the community took it upon themselves to nurture the mango plant in his memory. No details about the sales of the other eight mangoes have been revealed thus far. 

Japan has a history of producing some of the most expensive and luxurious fruit in the world. For instance, the most expensive varieties of watermelon, melon, grapes and apples — to name just a few — are all cultivated in various regions of Japan. Here’s a quick look: 

Densuke Watermelon

Densuke is a black-skinned watermelon with crisp, juicy and sweet flesh that originated in (and is mainly cultivated there as well) Hokkaido, Japan. A single Densuke watermelon has fetched prices as high as $6100. The melon is typically consumed fresh, either sliced or in fruit salads. Densuke is similar to other watermelon varieties, but is distinguished by its unique appearance — and of course, its high price.

Yubari King Melon

A hybrid melon with a perfectly round shape, smooth rind, and vibrant orange flesh, the Yubari is often called the world’s “most expensive fruit”, and with good reason. Each melon takes about 100 days to grow, and is tended to carefully by farmers in greenhouses. It is quite rare even in the regions where it is grown (Yubari, Hokkaido) in Japan, and this drives prices up even further; just two of these fruits once commanded a price of $45,000. The Yubari is usually eaten fresh as a luxury fruit, and often given as a gift or used in desserts. It has points of similarity with cantaloupes or muskmelons, but is said to be invariable — and exceptionally — sweet.

Seka-Ichi Apples

Seka-ichi literally translates to “world's best” so you can guess that these apples don’t come cheap. Grown primarily in the Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan, the fruit requires a cool climate and fertile soil, as also a lot of care on the part of the growers. The apples are unusually large, and a single fruit can weigh up to 1 kilo or more! The bright red colour of their peel makes them very attractive to the eye, and their taste is described as exceptionally sweet and juicy. They’re a very sought-after luxury gifting item in Japan.

Ruby Roman Grapes

These large, deep-red grapes — known for their size, firm texture and sweet taste — originated in Japan’s Ishikawa Prefecture. They are not dissimilar to red grapes, but their considerably larger size sets them apart. These grapes are sought after as luxurious snack and dessert items, with a bunch once retaining for $11,000!

Dekopon citrus and white jewel strawberries are also among the Japanese fruits that command extremely high prices in the market.