In the world of luxury fruits, the Bijin-Hime strawberry stands in a league of its own. Grown in Japan by expert farmer Mikio Okuda, this exclusive strawberry variety has gained worldwide renown for its unparalleled taste, texture and appearance.
The Bijin-Hime, which translates to “Beautiful Princess” in Japanese, is considered one of the most coveted and expensive fruits globally. In 2019, it created quite a stir in the culinary world when a single Bijin-Hime strawberry was auctioned for a whopping $500. This astronomical price is a testament to the fruit’s rarity and exceptional qualities.
So what makes the Bijin-Hime so special? For one, it is remarkably large, often reaching the size of a baseball. Each strawberry has a flawless heart shape and exhibits a bright red hue with a stunning glossy finish. Biting into a Bijin-Hime reveals a texture that is perfectly balanced between soft and firm. The flesh remains a vivid red throughout and oozes with incredibly sweet and fragrant juice.
In fact, the Bijin-Hime boasts a sugar content of 13-15 Brix, much higher than the average 10 Brix for regular strawberries. This, coupled with low acidity levels, allows its rich strawberry flavors to truly shine. The strawberry also emanates a lovely, rose-like aroma that completes the sensory experience.
The Bijin-Hime is painstakingly cultivated by Okuda in greenhouses during the winter months. Okuda spent 15 years perfecting the growing technique through extensive research and cross-breeding. His diligence paid off with a strawberry variety that has consistent flavor, texture and beauty year after year.
Given its outstanding traits, the Bijin-Hime has become hugely popular in Japan as the ultimate luxury fruit. It is often featured in high-end fruit arrangements and adorns wedding cakes as the pièce de résistance. Its flawless form and decadent taste has also captured international attention. For fruit connoisseurs, chefs and collectors, the Bijin-Hime remains an exclusive holy grail.
Though initially grown only on Okuda’s farm in Gifu, Japan, the Bijin-Hime’s fame has led to it being cultivated in limited quantities worldwide. However, its prohibitively high cost puts it firmly in the ‘special treat’ category for most. The Bijin-Hime stands as a testament to the wonders produced when passion meets perfection. For the privilege of savoring this “princess” of strawberries, no price seems too high for ardent fruit lovers.