The ‘946’; one of Japan’s most expensive bananas

The vast majority of bananas in Japan are imported; they sell for about US$0.50 each. However, there is a small percentage of bananas that are just a tad more expensive. These bananas are all produced by a company called 946 Bananas in the town of Kushiro in Hokkaido Prefecture. These fruits cost 1,080 yen apiece, some US$10.40.

That’s not the weirdest thing about them, though. The weirdest thing is that Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost prefecture, and bananas are, as we know, a tropical fruit. These 946 bananas are a new varietal of the Phantom Gros Michel, bred to withstand the cold temperatures of Hokkaido without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, and had their first harvest last December.

According to an article on, 946 bananas were “moist and rich” with “a powerful, but not overpowering, sweetness.” The peels were thin and, in theory, also edible, but the tasters found them too bitter for eating out of hand; the distributor suggested leaving them on, though, for blending into smoothies and cooking.

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