Whole Densuke watermelon next to slice of melon
The Reason Densuke Watermelons Can Cost Thousands Of Dollars
Japan is home to a thriving culture of premium fruit cultivation. Special, rare, and expensive breeds of everything from apples to melons are carefully grown across the country.
These fruits, which fetch the equivalent of hundreds or thousands of U.S. dollars, are often given as gifts. One of the rarest and most expensive is the Densuke watermelon.
According to The Garden Magazine, these melons are grown exclusively on the island of Hokkaido. Like many rare fruits, they're very difficult to cultivate and yields are low.
Only a limited number of Densuke watermelons are grown every season. Nearly seedless with a black rind and exceptionally sweet flesh, a single melon can cost around $250 USD.
In 2008, a certain Densuke melon was sold for roughly $6,100 USD, making it the most expensive watermelon ever sold. These fruits are sometimes exported, but rarely.
In Japan's past, fruit was given as an offering to the gods at temples, and today, gifting someone a luxurious, exclusive, perfectly-grown piece of fruit is a sign of respect.
The high prices of Japanese fruit represent pride in the country's agriculture industry. Citizens' respect for farmers and the work they do to grow such fruit justifies the price.
The buyer of the record-breaking $6,100 Densuke melon even says that he purchased the fruit because he wanted to support local farmers, not because he wanted a status symbol.