Take our user survey and make your voice heard.


quote of the day

In Japan, fruit is treated more as a luxury than a meal item.


Hisashi Kawaguchi, an official at the Japan Fruit Association. A survey conducted by the association in 2014 found that the No. 1 reason people don't eat fruit every day is that it doesn't last long and they can't store it. Other top reasons are "It costs more than other food," "It's a nuisance to have to peel it before you can eat it," and "There are other foods to eat."

© Mainichi Shimbun

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Luxury item?


Dunno where Mr Kawaguchi conducted his survey, but in Okinawa Mikan are a pretty hot item, as are bananas, apples, dragon fruit, papaya, star fruit and especially mangoes!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It’s only luxury since foreign exports of certain types are made expensive due to tariffs designed to placate domestic producers, at the expense of the entire nation of consumers.

Revoke special privileges, without exception.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I love fruit but was shocked at how expensive it is when I first came here, I remember telling folks back home that you would need a mortgage to make a fruit salad. Also my husband says that we can't be eating strawberries or watermelon every day, those are luxury items. Oranges, mikan, apples and bananas are deemed daily types of fruit, along with the occasional kiwi thrown in.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thats why Japanese never ever enjoy fruits.

For me Fruits are half meal for day.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Depends where you are. In the countryside where my in-laws live, it's much cheaper and they regularly send us big boxes of apples, nashi, persimmon etc.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

We enjoy fruit as a dessert to our evening meal every day, and often as a mid-day snack. We enjoy the seasonal flavour they bring; at this time of year, apples are still good, as are mikan, pears, oranges. In spring we get strawberries, followed as the weather gets warmer by plums, nectarines, peaches, melons, mangoes, grapes. Imported stuff like pineapples and papaya can have volatile prices, but bananas are a staple.

Fruit is good for you. I never understand the people who claim a ¥100-¥150 apple is expensive, but will happily pay the same or more for a calorie-packed, nutrient deficient 'sweet' full of over-processed refined sugar and fat.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Its good to eat fruit. When fruit producers choose to promote their products by auctioning melons or watermelons or bunches of grapes for hundreds of thousands of yen, it shouldn't be surprising that people come to look upon fruit as a luxury. It is very common for growing areas in Japan to seek to brand their produce and drive it upmarket. This isn't an umeboshi, it's a Wakayama umeboshi! etc. etc. This is an Aomori apple! etc. etc. Does this happen to the same extent in other countries?

It is an image the producers have created themselves. If they want people to consume more, they should stress the health benefits, not split hairs about how some region is so much wonderfully better and justifiably expensive than others.

Just saying, but fruit produced in Japan uses phenomenal amounts of agricultural chemicals. Apples are sprayed at least six times by farmers in full Hazmat gear. The pesticides they use are sold by JA in locked cabinets, not the standard Monsanto etc. ones you see on sale in Komeri.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

We eat quite a bit of fruit in our house. My wife is always buying fruits and berries, and putting them out for snacks. I love it!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@cucashopboy Very true, both fruit and veges are much cheaper in the countryside, particularly where they're grown. We are always buying roadside fruit and vegetables during road trips, and we grow chokos every year here in Tokyo. Some of the best pumpkin you'll ever eat comes from Yamanashi, passionfruit from Kagoshima, peaches and apples from Nagano.

My local supermarket bags up old fruit mixed with new stock. You can expect 1-2 rotten mikan in every bag, same goes for apples and oranges. I'm sure this is a major turn off for those on a budget, no point paying for six oranges and only getting four or five edible ones.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wrembreck - if you have the space for it, try growing goya in front of your flat/house. I do it each summer, it grows well in Tokyo and produces loads of foilage that looks good and cools the house slightly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

kohakuebisuToday  10:26 am JST

Does this happen to the same extent in other countries?

In the US things like Florida oranges may get promoted, but I think the public is skeptical that they are in any quantitative way better than any other orange. So the branding ends up being a trick to generate name recognition, but that will only drive sales so long as the product isn't significantly more expensive than the others. Not fruits, but Idaho potatoes worked on the same principle.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I get quiet a bit of fruit from my neighbours, Kiwi also grow well in Tokyo.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@cucashipboy I compost all winter and get chicken manure from a tiny farm nearby, so the choko vine grows absolutely nuts and there's no space for any other vine plants unfortunately. I used to grow tomatoes and cucumbers, but recently summers are wet so those things get watery and split. Chokos are divine in miso soup, nabe and ozoni. They soak up the flavour of the soup and are a great filler.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Regionally prices vary heaps. In my area some local things are always cheap(ish) including kiwi, oranges, apples and some melons. At farmers markets of course prices can be very low.

But generally I agree with the articles notion, that fruit is not seen as a staple, but more as a now and then with a price to pay to enjoy it.

This is confirmed by the ubiquitous custom of fruit being seen as valuable and given as gifts. Beautifully packaged and presented - and expensive. I received a box of perssimons in December from Okayama from a student. I didn't know the price, but my wife said they would be many, many  ¥100s / piece.

Having grown up in Australia, gorging on seasonal fruit - apricots, peaches, grapes, oranges, apples, plums, nectarines, avocados, etc etc was normal, and I must say I miss that habit.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

i eat an apple every day. It can be expensive in the summer but it’s a good habit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites