Crown melons sold at a store
Meet The Crown Melon, Japan's $200 Cantaloupe Doppelgänger
The Japanese Crown melon might look like any other cantaloupe, but it is part of a rich Japanese agricultural tradition, selling for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars.
Crown muskmelons are specially grown in Shizuoka Prefecture on Japan's Pacific coast and are far sweeter than cantaloupe or honeydew because of their cultivation process.
They are grown in isolation beds raised off the ground, and each vine is pruned of all but one melon, concentrating all the sugar and nutrients into one perfect melon.
The melons take 100 days to mature, and the temperature and water are controlled during that time. The slightest variation in either can affect the look or taste of the melon.
The cultivation of crown muskmelons involves tasking laborers to massage the exterior to maximize sweetness. The melons are even topped with caps on sunny days to avoid sunburn.
All this effort makes crown muskmelons very expensive. A mid-range price for one melon could be $200, but prices for melons of higher quality can be tens of thousands of dollars.