The 17-pound premium “Densuke” watermelon, grown only on the northern island of Hokkaido, was purchased by a marine products dealer who said he wanted to support local agriculture.
In a country where melons are a luxury item commonly given as gifts, the watermelon’s hefty price tag follows another jaw-dropping auction last month, where a pair of “Yubari” cantaloupe melons sold for a record $23,500.
And what makes a watermelon worth $200, much less $6,000?
Its unusual black skin, said Kazuyoshi Ohira, a spokesman for the Tohma Agricultural Cooperative in Hokkaido. Inside, the watermelon is crisp and hard. And, he says, it has unparalleled taste.
“It’s a watermelon, but it’s not the same,” he said. “It has a different level of sweetness.”
Other Densuke watermelons won’t cost quite as much. Most will retail at department stores and supermarkets for a more modest 20,000 yen to 30,000 yen (U.S. $188 to U.S. $283), Ohira said.