Densuke – The World’s Most Expensive Watermelon

Of the more than 1,200 varieties of watermelon grown around the world, none is more expensive or more sought-after than the famous Densuke black watermelon.

Grown only on the northern island of Hokkaido, in small quantities that rarely exceed 100 units per year, Densuke is regarded as one of the rarest watermelons in the world. It’s not the type of fruit you expect to find at a market or a grocer. Instead, the few fruits available every year are auctioned off to the highest bidder in highly anticipated events, for hundreds, and even thousands of dollars. The most expensive Densuke watermelon in history was auctioned off in 2019, for a whopping 750,000 Japanese yen ($6,000). Prices have dropped in the last two years, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the black watermelon remains the most expensive variety in the world, by far.

Known for their black and shiny exterior, Densuke watermelons are said to have a crisp flesh, a higher level of sweetness than other watermelon varieties, and fewer seeds. Those lucky enough to have tried the fruit say that it tastes like watermelon, only better.


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While the rarity of the variety definitely makes its mark on the price of Densuke watermelons, it’s worth pointing out that the final price also reflects the amount of time and dedication that goes into growing them.


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Although the first few lots of the annual crop yield the highest prices at fruit auctions, Densuke watermelons can usually be bought at prices starting at around $250 per fruit, which in most countries, is still an outrageous amount to pay for a single fruit.


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Like most other luxury products, Densuke watermelons come packaged in beautifully-decorated cubic cardboard boxes and include certificates of origin, as proof of authenticity is very important. They are most often offered as gifts, to show respect, gratitude and to keep relationships smooth.


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It’s not clear why the Densuke Watermelon is not yet widely grown outside of Japan, but according to The Gardener magazine, seeds are becoming commercially available in Europe and North America.

For more outrageously expensive fruits, check out Ruby Roman, the world’s most expensive grapes, and Finger Lime, aka the caviar of citrus.