Melons in Japan are a matter of luxury where paying 15,000 JPY ($200) for a single piece is normal.
The perfect fruit which matches the top quality standards is available in the gift market and even auctioned. The fruit is considered to be a matter of richness and a big part of Japanese culture of gifting.
The popularity of these melons is based on their quality, taste, and appearance.
They come in a lot of varieties such as Yubari King, Otome Melon, Prince Melon, Homerun Melon, Higo Green Melon, Arus Melon, Crown Melon, Andes Melon, Ibara King, and more. Out of which the Crown Melon is regarded as the most famous, the one variety which requires constant looking after for over 100 days and is only grown in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Controlled by farmers, these melons are grown in raised beds where to maintain the all-year production, water level & temperature are carefully monitored. The Shizuoka Crown Melon Company, the organization regulating distribution to ensure high-end quality melons. They are grown under strict supervision where they are manually polished, carefully covered for protection from sun damage.
To differentiate the topmost quality from the most popular variety i.e Crown melon, they are further differentiated into four grades namely, Yuki, Shiro, Yama & Fuji going from lowest to highest variety respectively.
The ones sold in the local fruit market for a cheaper price are Yuki, with the smallest of defects. On the other hand, one in a thousand mellons are given the Fuji grade. Rest, come under the Shiro & Yama grades.
Thus, the Japanese melons are so expensive based on the rich cultural traditions of giving away the perfect fruit as a gift and the hard work that is put in behind them for their perfect growth.