100,000 Yen Grapes―Okayama’s Muscat of Alexandria Special Local Grapes

29.May.2018 | FOOD

The first wholesale produce market of the year for Muscat of Alexandria, a white wine grape and special local product of Okayama Prefecture, was held at Ota Wholesale Market in central Tokyo on the morning of May 28.


Before the market opened at 7am, a PR ceremony was held which was attended by the vice-governor of Okayama Prefecture. “I wish to humbly taste Okayama Prefecture’s proud Muscat.” After the vice governor’s greeting, the 100-or-so people associated with the market each treated themselves to a grape one by one.


The first quotation of the stock is a staggering ¥100,000 for one bunch of the grapes, which was the highest value for a bunch last year. It was said that this year’s winter was harsh, and it was difficult to control the temperature in-house making it a lot of work, but the time and labour has paid off. The sugar content of a portion of the grapes has increased to 22.4 from 16 which is the delivery basis.


Muscat of Alexandria are called the ‘queen of fruits’ in Japan for their rich flavour and exquisite sweetness. They have become synonymous with ‘high quality grapes.’ They originate from Egypt which has a hot, dry climate. It’s said that Cleopatra loved the grapes too. Japan has low precipitation, and Okayama Prefecture is known as ‘the sunny country,’ and so this is where the grapes have come to be cultivated. It has been 132 years since they began growing Muscat of Alexandria, which comprises over 90% of the market share for grapes in Japan.


The Muscat of Alexandria grapes, which dropped in price on the morning of the 28th, receive an early sale in the afternoon in the city. Additionally, the ‘Okayama Muscat Fair’ is set to take place on June 2 and 3 at Ginza Sembikiya and June 9 and 10 at the Sembikiya flagship store in Nihonbashi.

Okayama’s Muscat of Alexandria can be enjoyed from May 28 to the end of October. Their taste is like no other, so why not treat yourself or buy some as a gift for that special someone?





  • Creamy Mami and Kimagure Orange Road Manga Artist Akemi Takada Gets Exhibition in Okayama

    29.September.2020 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    Kurashiki City Art Museum is now holding an exhibition dedicated to Japanese manga artist and character designer Akemi Takada. Titled TAKADA Akemi Exhibition: Angel Touch, the exhibition is set to run until November 8, 2020.


    Akemi Takada majored in graphic design at Tama Art University. After graduating, she entered the world of animation where she learned character design working for the Japanese animation company Tatsunoko Production. She went on to design characters for a range of popular anime series such as Creamy Mami, the Magic AngelKimagure Orange Road, Patlabor, and more. Today, she works as an illustrator as well as a designer for book covers.

    Angel Touch ©TAKADA Akemi

    Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel ©Pierrot

    The exhibition introduces original pictures of famous anime characters and Takada’s illustration work. Though solo exhibitions have been held many times for her in both Japan and abroad, this hails as one of the largest exhibitions ever with 200 drawings. Fans will also get to see new works as well which were drawn for the exhibition.

    Kimagure Orange Road ©Izumi Matsumoto / Shueisha・Nippon TV・Toho

    Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel 2

  • See the Breathtaking Autumn Foliage of the Former Shizutani School in Okayama

    14.November.2019 | SPOT

    The Former Shizutani School, recognised as the oldest school existing for commoners in Japan, has reached its peak season for autumn foliage. Speficially, for the Chinese pistache tree, which is a symbol of the school.

    Shizutani School first opened in 1670 during the Kambun era. In 2015, it was registered as an Educational Heritage Site from Early-Modern Japan. The majority of the site is listed as an Important Cultural Property, including the temple, Shizutani Shrine, as well as the auditorium which is considered a national treasure.


    The school’s surrounding natural landscape enjoys the blooming of many different flowers throughout the entire year which people flock to see. It’s especially famous for autumn, a season during which the enchanting red and yellow hues boas their beautiful blossom.

    The three colours reflect from the lacquered flooring of the auditorium, rippling like ocean waves.

    The beautiful contrast between the reds and yellows of the pistaches can be enjoyed during autumn-time only. The best time to see them is from now until November 20, so if you’re travelling to Okayama, be sure to pay the Former Shizutani School a visit.

  • Enjoy a Meal While Gazing Across the Rice Fields Of Kamimomi at Momian

    06.August.2019 | BUSINESS / FOOD / SPOT

    A new cafe called Momian opened by the Kakimomi Terraced Rice Fields in the Kamimomi area of Kumenan, a town in Okayama Prefecture, on August 3. The terraced rice fields of Kamimomi were selected by Pasona as one of Japan’s top 100 rice fields.


    Momian’s menu promotes the local region by using locally sourced and produced ingredients as well as rice from the rice fields.


    Kumenan has the highest rate of ageing in Okayama Prefecture. As of October 2018, over 44.3% of the population is over the age of 65. As a result, the region is facing a serious ageing population and consequential population decline. As well as this, more and more rice fields in Kamimomi have been abandoned in recent years and are no longer cultivated, leading to a serious maintenance problem with Satoyama which share resources in the region.


    Pasona has aided in tackling Kamimomi’s farming issue and is working to help revitalise the local community. They also revamped and reopened the Kumenan Rest Area in 2016 through their subsidiary company Pasona Okayama.

    There’s also where Momian comes in. The new cafe uses a refurbished old Japanese house and offers a gorgeous view of the rice fields and natural environment from its windows.

    To help support and build a deeper connection with its local farmers, the cafe will serve up original dishes made using ingredients grown in the area throughout the year.