The “Beautiful Princess” of Strawberries Costs Up to $350 Per Piece

Bijin-Hime, aka ‘Beautiful Princess’, is a Japanese strawberry variety that is perfectly shaped and colored and offers an unmatched flavor. It also costs up to $350 a piece, making it one of the world’s most expensive fruits.

Developed by Mikio Okuda, a Japanese farmer with over 45 years of experience growing strawberries, over 15 years of trial and error, Bijin-Hime is one of the world’s most highly regarded strawberry varieties. The largest fruits are about the size of a tennis ball and weigh around 100 grams, but it’s not the size that makes the Beautiful Princess special. Well, actually, it is, but not in the way you expect. Generally, the larger a strawberry is, the less flavor and sweetness it has, but that is certainly not the case with Bijin-Hime strawberries. They are rated at 13 degrees Brix, which makes them considerably sweeter than the 10-degree Brix strawberry standard, and have a flavor reminiscent of roses.

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The texture of Bijin-Hime strawberries is said to strike a perfect balance between soft and firm, and the vibrant red color of its shiny skin is said to permeate right down to its core. It also lacks any of the acidity and funky after-taste that one usually gets from supermarket varieties.

Like many other Japanese strawberry growers, Mikio Okuda grows his Beautiful Princess variety during the winter months, carefully monitoring the temperature of the soil and the air inside his greenhouses at Okuda Farms, in Hashima, Gifu Prefecture. The slow ripening may be one of the secrets behind the sweetness and intense flavor of the strawberries, but Okuda is inclined to give out to much information. And for good reason…


After spending 15 years cross-breeding strawberries to create Bijin-Hime, Mikio Okuda finally achieved what he set out to do – create a large, perfectly-shaped strawberry that also provides excellent flavor. The process is still not perfect, though, as some of the fruits tend to come out round, like fleshy globes. Those aren’t fit for commercialization, and CNN reports that Okuda only produces around 500 market-worthy strawberries per year.

In a country where quality fruits are literally worth their weight in gold (if not more), Mikio Okuda’s Beautiful Princess strawberries are highly sought-after. At one auction, a single, particularly large Bijin-Hime strawberry sold for 50,000 yen ($350). Some sources claim that the most expensive one sold for $500, but we haven’t found any proof of that. Still, $350 for a single strawberry sounds ridiculous.


Interestingly, Bijin-Hime strawberry plants are all clones of the original plant developed by Mikio Okuda, so growers can’t simply grow their own Beautiful Princesses from strawberry seeds.