A pair of Yubari melons sold at auction in Hokkaido on Friday for 2.5 million yen, one of the highest prices ever paid for the fruit. Last year, the highest price paid was 1.6 million yen for a pair.
A local fruit product company snapped up the two melons at the high-end fruit and vegetable sale, which took place on the first day of the season for the prestigious melons.
In a country where a single apple can cost more than 500 yen and a presentation pack of 20 cherries sells for over 10,000 yen, Japanese shoppers are used to paying high prices for their fruit.
But the eye-watering figures paid at the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market reflect buyers' desire for prestige.
Yubari melons are considered a status symbol in Japan like a fine wine, with many buyers presenting them as a gift to friends and colleagues.
The best-quality Yubari melons are perfect spheres with a smooth, evenly patterned rind. A T-shaped stalk is left on the fruit, which is usually sold in an ornate box.© Japan Today/AFP