Japanese strawberry varieties



The cold winter months are when the strawberry season begins. These glistening jewels come in all shapes and sizes and are grown across the country. Japanese strawberries have been bred to not only look beautiful and perfect but taste delicious, so do give them a try!
You may have noticed that the Japanese go crazy for these strawberries. According to the Japan External Trade Organization, the Japanese are the biggest consumers of raw strawberries globally! Most strawberries are consumed domestically, although some are shipped to nearby Asian countries. 
Strawberries are crucial in Japanese Christmas cakes (a shortcake adorned with strawberries) and the Japanese confectionery Ichigo daifuku いちご大福 (mochi wrapped strawberries). Of course, they’re also delicious on their own!
There are over 300 varieties in Japan, with new ones introduced almost every year thanks to cultivation technologies. Depending on where you’re located, you may notice local strawberries not available elsewhere. 
Let’s take a look at the different types of strawberries. 

Tochi otome (とちおとめ) 

A well-balanced strawberry, Tochi otome is produced mainly in Tochigi prefecture but grown in Aichi and Ibaraki. It was developed in 1996 and was the first strawberry variety developed in Japan. It tends to be more affordable than the other varieties. 

Benihoppe (紅ほっぺ)

Benihoppe is produced in Shizuoka prefecture. They have an elongated shape and are slightly tart. The name derives from its red color (beni 紅) and the word for cheeks (hoppe ほっぺ).

Amaou (あまおう) 

The Amaou name is an acronym for akai 赤い (red), marui 丸い (round), ookii 大きい (big) and umai うまい (tasty). It’s produced in Fukuoka prefecture and is known as “the king of strawberries.” The berries are big, plump, and juicy, just like its name. 

Saga honoka (さがほのか)

Saga Honoka was developed in Saga prefecture and is mainly grown in Kyushu (southern Japan). It has a conical appearance, red body, and white flesh. It also goes by other names such as “Honoka” and “Honoka Ichigo.”

Hatsukoi no Kaori (初恋の香)

A striking white berry, Hatsukoi no Kaori (literally “the scent of first love), may look unripe and inedible, but actually, they’re sweet, rich, and fragrant. The berry is white both outside and inside, but the seeds are red. They were developed by the seed and plant supplier Miyoshi Agri-Tech Group of Yamanashi prefecture. They’re also expensive and hard to find, about 500 yen or more per berry.