All About Japan’s Square-Shaped Watermelons

1 week ago 9



Watermelon is a popular fruit enjoyed especially during the hot summer months but did you know that a square variant exists in Japan? What is a square-shaped watermelon? What makes it so special? In this article, we’ll explore the iconic Japanese square-shaped watermelon and teach you everything you need to know about it. 

What Is A Japanese Square Watermelon?

What Is A Japanese Square Watermelon?


When you think about summer in Japan or even
Japanese summer festivals, watermelon might also come to mind. But, square watermelons? What are they? Why do they exist? Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like - a square-shaped watermelon. Known as Shikaku Suika (四角スイカ, しかくすいか) in Japanese, they are regular watermelons that are instead cube-shaped, because why not? These Japanese watermelons are often used as decorations and can be expensive (we’ll get into that a bit later in this article).

Why Are They Square Shaped?

The idea of turning regular watermelons into square watermelons was intended for a few reasons. The biggest reason lies purely in the novelty of the shape. The fact that watermelons can be grown as square-shaped is quite comical. But that’s not so much of a practical reason. Another non-practical reason is purely for aesthetics. High-quality and expensive fruits are often given as gifts in Japan, and square-shaped watermelons are thought to be more aesthetically pleasing.

However, there are a few (somewhat) practical reasons for the existence of square watermelons in Japan. These cube-shaped fruits fit inside refrigerators much easier than their oval-shaped counterparts. Square-shaped watermelons are much easier to cut into since they are flat and don’t roll.

When Were Japanese Square Watermelons Invented?

When Were Japanese Square Watermelons Invented?


The unique square-shaped watermelon was originally invented in Kagawa Japan in a small town called Zentsuji. In the late 1970s, a local farmer named Tomoyuki Ono is said to be the inventor of the square watermelon. Ono found that watermelons could be grown in square-shaped containers, making them easier to store and transport.

How Are Japanese Square Watermelons Grown?

When Were Japanese Square Watermelons Invented?


Growing square-shaped watermelons is actually easier than you might think. In order to grow square watermelons, young watermelons are placed into square boxes that are smaller than the watermelon’s matured size. Their square shape does not come from genetic modification, it purely comes from the shape of the container! 

Theoretically, you can take this idea and grow watermelons in different shapes using different shaped molds. While not super common, heart shaped and triangular shaped watermelons have also made appearances in Japan. 

Where Are They Grown?

After Ono’s discovery, Zentsuji town became the predominant producer of square watermelons. These days, square watermelons are the town’s signature product!

What Do Japanese Square Watermelons Taste Like?

What Do Japanese Square Watermelons Taste Like?


So unfortunately Japanese square watermelons are inedible. This is because they are harvested before they become ripe. They actually used to be harvested to be edible, but this was deemed to be too much work and not worth it in the long term. 

What Are Square Watermelons Used For In Japan?

This unique fruit is often times used as decoration. Yup, there are people who go out of their way to purchase inedible fruit and use them as decorations. But that’s not the worst part. If you hadn’t guessed it already, these watermelons are EXPENSIVE too.

How Much Do Japanese Square Watermelons Cost?

How Much Do Japanese Square Watermelons Cost?


Japan is the land of expensive fruits, so it shouldn’t be that much of a shock that square watermelons are costly. But how much do they actually go for in Japan? 

Be prepared to pay at least 10,000 yen (around $65 USD at the time of writing this article). However, it will be more common to see square watermelons sold at even more outrageous price points, ranging from 20,000 all the way up to 100,000 yen. If you are buying and shipping square watermelons internationally, prepare to pay at least 80,000 to 100,000 yen. 

Can Japanese Square Watermelons Be Grown At Home?

Yes square watermelons can be grown at home. However, watermelon cultivation might not be the most common or practical for home gardeners. You'll need a square container large enough to accommodate the growing watermelon, but smaller than its mature size. It’s also important to remember that square watermelons are technically still immature watermelons and will not be suitable for consumption. 

Where Can You Buy Square Watermelons In Japan?

Where Can You Buy Square Watermelons In Japan?


As mentioned earlier, square watermelons are a symbol of Zentsuji city, so you could always find them there if you happen to take a trip to Shikoku. However, this is probably unrealistic for most travelers to Japan. If you’d really like to purchase a square watermelon, you might have luck finding them in high end department stores in major cities in Tokyo or Osaka. If you’re really looking to get your hands on a square watermelon but can’t make it to Japan, you can always purchase one from an online retailer as well. 

Want to learn more about Japanese fruits? Be sure to check out this article.

What do you think about Japanese square watermelons? Have you seen one in person before? Would you ever purchase one? Let us know in the comments.

Read Entire Article