What do heated toilets, frozen beer and suspended tablet holders have in common? Japan has enhanced and revamped them all with their midas touch of improvement! Japan’s kaizen culture constantly produces inventions that never cease to amaze foreigners like myself. However, in my 20 years living here I never expected even the strawberry could be improved into the white strawberry!
The picture above shows the extremely rare white strawberry of Japan . Many know it by the name Hatsukoi no Kaori, or love at first scent. The basement level of the Tokyu Hands department store in Shibuya sells this single strawberry for 1,080 yen or about ten dollars. Some say the price dips as low as 380 yen in prefectures outside of Tokyo. Of course, traveling expenses to more farther areas will probably cost more than the discounted strawberry!
Miyoshi Agritech Company of Yamanashi created the white strawberry in 2006 after 10 years of development. A few different types of white strawberry exist on the market but this breed is known as the white jewel or Shiroi Houseki. At the present time, only farmer in the world is creating this breed of white strawberry. Yashuhito Teshima, father of the white jewel, cultivates its ivory skin and red seeds through crossbreeding and controlled direct sunlight. However, his craft is not easy. Only 10% of the strawberries he grows make it to the market. The rest won’t make the cut if their appearance is even slightly off.
The white jewel’s high price, unique look and rare existence make it a popular gift for loved ones in Japan. Nonetheless, the most attractive feature is its rich taste. The fruit emits a strong sweet smell of traditional strawberry mixed with a hint pineapple even while in its case. Its flavorful scent partners with an even richer taste that make its price worthwhile.
While I felt the berry lived up to its hype, some bloggers would beg to differ. Many report their purchase having the same sweet smell but say the actual taste was nothing like its scent. Others say it could have been too early in the season for the berry to reach its full potential. Although it’s too bad they felt it wasn’t worth the ten dollars they invested, nothing ventured nothing gained. The only way to find out whether you’ll like this rare treat or not is to try it out yourself!