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Friday, 22nd May 2015
In Events In Japan,

Two melons sold for the price of luxury car in Japan

The first Yubari melons of the season have gone on sale at the Saporro Central Wholesale Market in Japan, selling for an incredible price.

A huge 1.5 million yen (£7,955) was spent on a pair of the fruits, which are a hybrid of two types of cantaloupe and considered a luxury item in Japan.

The purchase was made by Kazuo Watarai, a local fruit wholesaler, who paid the equivalent sum of a new car for the melons.

High prices are normal for the fruit, but these become astronomical for the first auction of the year, with the winner gaining much prestige from buying the beginning of the season's bounty.

While the price fetched for this fair of melons was high, it did not reach the record sum of 2.5 million yen, which was achieved in 2014.

Yubari melons are only grown in the small town of the same name, which is close to Sapporo and must be cultivated under exact conditions.

The best examples are perfectly round and a portion of the stem is left attached to add to the aesthetic appeal of the fruit.

These status symbols are often then given as gifts to friends and family, with the mid-year ritual of Chugen where presents are exchanged being the prime time to impart them.

It is held in July and December, with the Yubari melon season coinciding perfectly with the former.

When discussing the cantaloupes in the past, observers have compared the fruit with fine wines, which show a person's wealth, as they can afford to spend large sums on consumables.

While the prices fetched for Yabari melons exceed those of all other fruit in Japan, even well presented apples or cherries can command a relatively large price tag.