Japanese Watermelon Auctions for $4,000. Consider That a Bargain

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Tomoko A. Hosaka / AP

With summer fast approaching, variety of seasonal fruits is making a comeback. Japanese rare item, Densuke watermelon isn’t an exception, and due to recession, it comes at a bargain price—falling a bit short of $4,000 a pop.

Once having set the record as world’s most expensive watermelon at staggering 650,000 yen ($8,100), one hundred Densuke watermelons went on first day sale at the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market last Monday. The best of the crop was sold at 300,000 yen ($3,740). It will be on display at the Shinjuku outlet until June 16 and will be sold at 315,000 yen, according to an Isetan representative.

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This Japanese watermelon—grown exclusively in the nation’s northernmost Hokkaido Island—has a bowling-ball smooth, stripe-free dark shell and pink flesh. But the big question is: what exactly does this mega-pricey piece of fruit taste like?

According to a Japanese agricultural expert quoted in the LA Times, it has crisp texture and taste incomparable others of its kind: “It’s a watermelon, but it’s not the same. It has a different level of sweetness.”  Apparently, the sky-high premium also comes from the fact that the particular $4,000 piece was the first of this year’s crop to be sold. Japanese regard it a prestige to take the very first fruit of the season.

The island country is known for its luxury fruit market, where a bunch of grapes can go for as expensive as $900 or a few mangoes for $2,000 (via Luxuo). If you were flabbergasted by those prices, wait till you hear about the Yubari melons, which was sold for $26,000 in the peak year.

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Watch the footage of Densuke watermelons being auctioned off at $6,000 a few years back.

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