Why is Wasabi so Expensive?

green roots

Did you know that fresh wasabi usually costs around $250 per kilo? This is why the wasabi paste we are used to is oftentimes a mixture of Japanese horseradish, sweetener and colouring. If you ask yourself why fresh wasabi is so expensive, you are not alone. Keep reading to learn more about the reasons for the high price of real wasabi.


three pieces of sushi with fish on a green plate and a wooden table


#1. There Is High Demand

In the last couple of years there has been a growing demand for Japanese food. Having in mind, it is no surprise that wasabi sushi gets more and more popular. The more popular sushi becomes, the more likely people are to look for real wasabi. As a result of the increase in this demand, there has also been a rise in prices.


serving freshly grated wasabi in a little black bowl on a dark wooden table



#2. There Are Limited Sources of Fresh Wasabi

On the one hand, there is a large demand for wasabi. On the other hand, there are just a few specific places where people can grow the root. Similar to truffles, growing this type of radish requires specific conditions. Therefore, it is much riskier to cultivate wasabi rhizome.


wasabi plantation fields of green wasabi with irrigation system person checking on the plants


#3. Real Wasabi Has Higher Quality

Naturally enough, the quality of real wasabi is much higher than the one of fake wasabi. This applies to its purity, consistency, smell and taste. In this regard, it is not surprising that customers with discerning tastes ask for premium quality. Yet, premium quality goes hand in hand with higher prices.


picked wasabi roots with green wasabi leaves on a metal surface with a little knife


#4. Real Wasabi Is Hard to Procure

The difficulty of procurement is another reason why this green root is so expensive. In comparison with fake wasabi, it is much harder for both suppliers and customers to gain access to the real one. As a result of this, there is an increase in logistics expenses.


natural wasabi green roots and bright green leaves on a white table


#5. Real Wasabi Is Hard to Store

Not only is it hard to cultivate and procure, but it also requires sensitive storage conditions. In this regard, it is necessary to cope with higher equipment costs whenever suppliers transport, store, and deliver. Of course, costs are included in the end price. This explains why the fresh variety can be really expensive.


grated wasabi on a little wooden board wasabi roots in a basket with green wasabi leaves


Why Is Real Wasabi Worth Paying More?

Fake wasabi oftentimes contains Japanese horseradish, cornstarch, mustard, preservatives and green food colouring. Therefore, it cannot fully fulfil wasabi’s functions.


flavours of japan gourmet minimalist dish with wasabi piece of fish and vegetables


The first main function of the paste is all about opening your senses so that you have a greater experience of sushi’s flavor. The second function revolves around making the process of eating sushi more of a kick. This leaves a more lasting impression on your mind.
Last, but not least, it helps you prime your mouth, tongue, and throat before you eat the next piece of sushi. When you cleanse your palate, you are able to enjoy each bite to the fullest.


many fresh wasabi roots in water with cut upper leaves ready for consumption


As you can see, at first it might seem unreasonable to invest in this plant. Nevertheless, if you are a fan of Japan and sushi, you will definitely notice the difference between real and fake.


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