Would you pay $8,200 for a bunch of grapes? Probably not, but someone has just paid one million yen ($8,200), or $315 per berry for a bunch of Japanese grapes at an auction in the central Japanese prefecture of Ishikawa. The bunch of 26 grapes, each one weighing around 20 grams (0.7 ounce), belongs to the Ruby Roman variety, cultivated only in western Japan’s Ishikawa prefecture, was the highest-priced at this year’s first auction in Kanazawa, smashing the previous record of 550,000 yen set last year.
Winning bidder Masayuki Hirai, head chef of the Nikko hotel in Kanazawa, told reporters he had been under strict orders to win the auction, with local tourism chiefs eager to capitalise on a new train line to the area.
“With the opening of the Hokuriku shinkansen (bullet train) line, I was told to win the bidding at any cost,” he said.
Earlier this year, a pair of Yubari melons from Hokkaido, northern Japan – considered a status symbol – were snapped up for a jaw-dropping 1.5 million yen.
Meanwhile, a Japanese department store thought nothing of shelling out 300,000 yen for a pair of pristine mangoes grown in southern Japan.