Tokyo’s Sembikiya Fruit Parlor looks like a luxurious jewelry store and the prices of the items on offer aren’t too far off either, only instead of diamonds and gold this place sells fruits. If you’re looking for perfectly shaped, delicious-tasting cantaloupes, apples, grapes or any other Japanese fruits, Sembikiya is where you’ll find them, but you’d better stop by the bank first, because they don’t come cheap.
In Japan, it’s customary to give high-quality fruits for formal occasions like weddings, business meetings or hospital visits. But we’re not talking about fruits you usually find at the local market or grocery store. Specialized fruit shops like Sembikiya sell only the rarest, most perfect products, grown in special conditions to ensure they look and taste as good as possible. Take the Yubari muskmelons, also known as Yubari King melons, priced at ¥15,750 ($160) for one, or ¥26,250 ($265) for two, at the exclusive Tokyo fruit parlor. That’s a small fortune for produce, wouldn’t you say? But these Japanese cantaloupes are pretty special. The Yubari King sold at Sembikiya only come from Shizuoka prefecture, where they get the most sunshine. They are grown in specially-designed greenhouses with air-conditioning and paper hats in the hot summer months, and heaters during wintertime. Farmers prune the less perfect fruits early on, leaving just one melon to ensure it gets the best flavor possible. A 12-pack of Queen Strawberries sells for ¥6,825 ($68), a box of perfect cherries costs ¥15,750 ($159), and a Senkai-ichi (Japanese for “world’s best”) apple will set you back ¥2,100 ($21). They might seem like outrageously-priced fruits to most people, but with 11 parlors opened in Japan, at Sembikiya business is booming.