Another area of specialty is luxury strawberries. The Japanese are officially a berry-obsessed nation: the official website of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan lists over 300 varieties of strawberries in Japan.
What are white strawberries?
Whilst not all varieties are available on the market, one rarity that you can buy is the albino strawberry, called the Hatsukoi no Kaori strawberry, literally the scent of first love in Japanese.
This white strawberry is like no other - white on the inside and outside, with deeply embedded red seeds, and often a light milky pink hue on the skin. Not to be confused with pineberries, a hybrid strawberry cultivated in the US and Europe, the white strawberry is large, juicy and sweeter than the usual supermarket strawberry.
The special colour is achieved by a careful cultivation method that reduces its exposure to light, hence inhibiting the development of the typical red of strawberries.
Apart from the fact that not many strawberry farmers are dedicated to the art of growing these particular strawberries, what adds to the scarcity is that only a small percentage of the strawberries from the same patch actually turn out a pure white - about 10% of production, according to the farmers.
Also, bruises and scratches are more apparent on white berries, reducing the amount of market-ready white strawberries.
Where to buy white strawberries
Expect to pay more for white strawberries than your regular berries. There are several types of white strawberries (like these White Jewel strawberries) and the few available are sold at upmarket fruit stores in Japan, often priced at over $10 for a single strawberry.