… and I’m not just talking about those square watermelons you’ve seen before. While square watermelons are the fruit’s most famous shape in Japan (you know, apart from its natural round structure), they aren’t the only shapes found in glorious Nippon.
If the sight of a weirdly-shaped melon confuses you, you should know that growing such a fruit doesn’t require any high-tech gear or specialized seeds. All you have to do is make yourself a box of whatever shape you would like your melon to be. The box or mold has to be slightly smaller than the volume of the mature fruit so it can push the melon into shape as it is growing. It’s just a matter of watering, fertilizing, and growing the watermelon as you usually would while making sure the plant gets enough sunlight.
Since the process of growing the fruit is fairly simple, people in Japan have taken it upon themselves to make some of the weirdest-shaped melons out there:
— ワクワク (@sayusayu1207) August 15, 2018
— 香織（?スイカgirl） (@kaori_yuzu2) August 8, 2016
— mayu (@mayureechan) May 27, 2017
Square and heart-shaped melons like the ones in the photos above (courtesy of Twitter users sayusayu1207, kaori_yuzu2, and mayureechan) are iconic when it comes to tourists, but you rarely see them being bought over their original round shaped cousin.
While 1/6th of an average watermelon slice would cost you somewhere around 297 Japanese yen (roughly $2.69), a whole square watermelon costs anywhere from 11052.10 to 22104.20 yen (around $100-200). Small versions of the heart-shaped watermelon cost around $200 apiece, while their bigger counterparts cost $350 or more.
＠いとく 秋田新国道店 pic.twitter.com/LayKecV9iv
— 無免許 (@inume1213) August 14, 2018
— [-BV-]素顔を晒したアル坊 (@al_bow17) August 15, 2018
The closest you can get to the classic round watermelon without it being one would have to be either the “Godzilla Egg” or dynamite watermelons. While the Godzilla Egg gets its name from its rather large size and oblong shape, it doesn’t have much in the way of flair (as seen in the above photos by Twitter users inume1213 and al_bow17). This one costs between $68 and $150.
スーパーでおいしさ爆発！ダイナマイト スイカ pic.twitter.com/Bs9MszyOwS
— かいづかわたる (@junni_800) August 9, 2016
— みぃ (@arashi_tonton) July 23, 2018
The dynamite watermelon looks exactly like the original fruit but with one tiny difference: since it’s being marketed as a bomb, the stem is fashioned in such a way so it looks like the fuse of an old school explosive. By slapping on a cheap sticker (as seen in the images by Twitter users junni_800 and arashi_tonton), this melon’s price can skyrocket from a normal watermelon to around $70.
ただいま ひょうたんスイカ だよ 日本の農家はすごいね pic.twitter.com/7CVJYHJxKv
— ふーこん (@fuucon3513) July 1, 2015
But if you want to get really weird, check out the calabash and face-shaped watermelons. The calabash is strange in and of itself because of the fact someone thought to grow a fruit into the shape of another fruit. Granted, the calabash in the image above by Twitter user fuucon3513 is more weirdly-shaped than a watermelon, but it looks more like a jug for holding sake than anything else.
— ニャムさん (@nyamusas) May 14, 2017
Then there’s the “jinmen suika”, which literally translates to “human face watermelon”; and if this doesn’t give you nightmares, I don’t know what will. Unlike the jack-o’-lantern, however, the jinmen suika is grown rather than carved, making it much more expensive. Buying one of these severed watermelon (like the one above pictured by Twitter user nyamusas) heads costs over $1,000, meaning you’ll be paying for a perishable piece of food which cannot be kept for more than a single season.
By no means are these the only shapes of watermelon out there. Pyramids, soccer balls, heck, maybe there are watermelons somewhere shaped like the Seven Wonders of the World. If you plan on looking for them though, chances are you won’t find them outside of Japan.