Jul 10, 2016

How Much Does Fruit Cost in Japan?

How Much Does Fruit Cost in Japan? photo

When responding to the question, How much does fruit cost in Japan?, it's difficult to give a comprehensive answer.  One thing we can sure about though, is that the cost of fruit in Japan is seen as exorbitantly high by most foreigners.  It's an all too common lament of expats here that they're restricted to getting their fruit fix from bananas and cartons of juice as they feel priced out of anything else.  Why fruit (something that nature can just grow of its own accord) should be so expensive in a land that has a rich variety of climates, fertile volcanic soil, and plenty of money remains a frustration.  It might be something to do with our hosts almost jingoistic attitude to home-grown stuff.  It's seen as way better than any of that foreign stuff, so they charge more for it.  Blame could also be laid upon ultra-expensive fruit pusher, Sembikiya, who, some might say cynically, created a market out of portraying fruit like it was a designer hand bag, and flogging it off to anyone rich enough and stupid enough to buy it.  Turns out there are a lot of people who are rich and stupid.  Or just stupid.  

How Much Does Fruit Cost in Japan? photo

If you can sense some expensive fruit-based frustration, you're spot on.  Just thinking about the cost of fruit in Japan is annoying.  A reaction typical of most expats.  Why, a former colleague even ditched Japan all together and moved to Taiwan so he could afford to eat fruit.

Anyway, it is what it is.  To give you an idea of how much fruit costs in Japan, we did some research at two of our local supermarkets; Seiyu and daiei.  The former could considered cheap.  daiei considers itself a bit posh, and is not the place for most people to do the bulk shopping.  Still, fruit in Japan, is fruit in Japan, it's probably expensive where ever you get it.  Let's see.  

All prices below are in Japanese yen.  Price is for a single piece of fruit unless stated otherwise.

ItemSeiyu (cheap)Seiyu (expensive)daiei (cheap)daiei (expensive)
Apple197 / pack of 4 - 447397198356

Bananabag of 4 or 5- 70bag of 4 or 5- 247pack of 5 - 98pack of 5 - 298

small tub - 598
Cherries (American)

1 pack - 398
Grapes1 pack - 367

Kiwi fruit87
ItemSeiyu (cheap)Seiyu (expensive)daiei (cheap)daiei (expensive)

Nasu (like pear)297397

Orange89 / bag of 8 - 397128128

Peach199 / Pack of 2 - 397Pack of 2 - 597398
ItemSeiyu (cheap)Seiyu (expensive)daiei (cheap) daiei (expensive)
PlumsPack of 7 to 10 - 397
Pack of 10 - 398
Watermelon1/6 slice - 2977911/8 slice - 398

We need to be clear that the cost of fruit in Japan can fluctuate quite dramatically.  This is often down to infavorable/favorable climates.  It should be noted that apples in Japan are very large (not that that makes the prices acceptable).  When we talked about the tub of blueberries and the pack of cherries, no weights were declared.  Suffice to say though, the packaging was small.  Notable absentees from this list above must be strawberries (maybe around 400 yen for a pack), and satsumas (300 - 500 yen for a bag of around 6-8).  It's currently not the season for them here in Japan.

So, how much does fruit cost in Japan?  Well, we hope the list above can give you an idea.  We also hope it doesn't put you off living in Japan.  There's cheap stuff over here, honest!  Just not the fruit, we're afraid.

If you'd like to contribute an answer to the question, How much does fruit cost in Japan?, we'd love it.  Write it in the comments, or even better, in a blog post.

If you want to learn more about Japan's really expensive fruit (we mean the 'designer' stuff) check out this earlier post about Sembikiya:  What did you spend 20,000 yen on a mango for?! Expensive Fruit In Japan

To learn more about why fruit is so expensive in Japan, this article from newspaper The Independent make for an interesting read: Why is fruit so expensive in Japan?

For more information about the cost of living in Japan ... 

How much does fast food in Japan cost?

Study Japanese in Japan: How much money do you need for class?

How Much Does it Cost to Travel From Tokyo to Osaka?

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  • helloalissa

    on Jul 11

    Sad but true. (Although I support Japan not importing so much fruit from halfway across the world just so we can eat them all year - that just doesn't make sense to me.) I'd love to try a 2000 yen Miyazaki mango to see if it's much tastier than the ones from SE Asia. The little green grocers sometimes have decent prices for in season fruit, but they don't always say where the fruit is from - could be imported. Plus you can go to some farms for fruit picking in the right season. It's usually a set price (still expensive) for all you can pick and eat in a specific time. I heard the farmers in Japan let each apple have it's own branch so they can become bigger and more delicious. Quality over quantity?

  • City-Cost

    on Jul 11

    @helloalissa Wow! Their own branch?! That seems a bit much. Actually, the apples over here are too big for me. I prefer something more bite-sized in my apples. Wow! I miss being able to buy a bag of Granny Smiths!