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5 Types of Japanese Cantaloupes

Luxury fruit? Yes, you heard that right, and the only place in the world that does it right is Japan. You may think this all sounds a bit silly; how different can a Japanese Cantaloupe be from one at your local market down the road? The truth is they are quite a bit different indeed.

Keep reading to see just what makes these luxury melons so unique.

Looking for Japanese melon seeds? Check availability (this is the best source we’ve found!)

Green Japanese melons growing in a greenhouse.
Japanese melons growing in a greenhouse.

Different Types of Japanese Cantaloupe Melons

We’ll start off by introducing you to the five most popular types of Japanese cantaloupes grown today.

1. Earls Melon

Earls Melon is an upper-class melon with sweet juicy green flesh. Grown in the Kumamoto prefecture, Japan, the Earls Muskmelon is also known as the King of Melons.

Closeup of an Earls melon, a type of Japanese cantaloupe.
An Earl melon, a type of Japanese cantaloupe.

These melons are extra delicious because of where they grow. Since they are so close to the pacific ocean, there are particular nutrients in the soil that enhance the flavor of the melons. The Earls Melon is commonly given as a gift in Japan because of its high quality and modest price.

2. Ibara King Melon

The Ibara King Melon is the most common melon found in Japan. This is also the melon that makes up the famous Melon Bread found all over Japan. The Ibara King is grown in the Ibaraki prefecture close to Tokyo.

A green-fleshed cantaloupe.

These melons have a sweet yet delicate flavor with a dark yellow or light green flesh. The Ibara King melon is the youngest of the melons grown in Japan, being only 11 years old and being the hybrid product of over 400 different Japanese melons.

3. Yubari Melon

The Yubari Melons are exclusively grown in Yubari, Hokkaido. This is one of the highest quality melons available in Japan. The Yubari Melons are thought to be of the highest quality once the rind is nice and smooth and a portion of the stem is left on top for an even higher aesthetic appeal.

Two slices of Yubari melon, a type of Japanese cantaloupe.
The Yubari melon is another kind of Japanese cantaloupe.

The interior of the melon is a beautiful deep golden yellow and has a juicy, almost honey-like flavor. The flesh is so soft and sweet that many say you can eat it with a spoon. Many travelers visit Hokkaido every year just to sample these one-of-a-kind melons.

The Yubari Melon is also the most expensive melon out of the bunch. In an auction in 2019, one melon had sold for five million yen or $43,300. Now that is one expensive melon.

4. Lupia Red Melon

Another popular melon is the Lupia Red. This melon is the most similar looking to our favorite American style canteloupe with the green and yellow reticulated netting on the rind. The gorgeous orange inside offers a super sweet and juicy bite. Fun fact, because these are grown in Hokkaido, they are shipped with the vines attached, unlike the melons shipped from Ibaraki.

A display of vibrant orange cantaloupe melon slices.

5. Prince Melon

The Prine Melon gained popularity in 1961 because of its juicy sweet flavor and reasonable price. The flesh is a yellowish-orange color with a very light scent. Prince Melons are grown in multiple locations throughout Japan, such as Kumamoto, Yamagata, Fukui, and other areas depending on the climate of that specific year. You are sure in for a treat no matter where you pick up a Prince Melon.

A pale green melon, similar to a Prince or derishi melon.

How to Define Luxury Japanese Cantaloupes

If you are reading this article, I am sure you have heard of the luxurious fruit markets around Japan. The main reason for these expensive fruits is primarily because of the time and effort to grow the perfect melon. All farmers take extra special care of these cantaloupes pruning leaf by leaf and vine by vine. These farmers have years of experience caring for and producing the finest fruits possible.

An outdoor market display of cantaloupe slices on ice for sale.

Japan is rich in heritage and culture. Some of these fruits are high quality enough to be considered as wedding gifts. Some even show signs of wealth and those who work hard enough to enjoy the finer things in life.

Canelopes are not the only luxury fruit you can seek out in Japan. You can find luxury fruit markets all over the city where the fruits are dressed up in clear containers under expensive lighting, almost as if you’re looking at a fine piece of jewelry.

Strawberries, grapes, and melons are just a few fruits you can see being sold as high-ticket items. One of the most popular is the Ruby Roman Grapes.

Cantaloupe Recipes

Now that we have gone over all these delicious Japanese cantaloupes, if your mouth isn’t watering yet, it is sure to be after we go over some of the tastiest melon recipes for all varieties.

A smooth-skinned Japanese melon.

Melon Sorbet

Suppose you are looking for a sweet and refreshing treat to beat the summer heat. You have to make this melon sorbet. All you need is a few simple ingredients, and you are on your way to something delicious.

Mint and Melon Salad

Another super refreshing melon recipe is this yummy mint and melon salad. This is a perfect salad for family BBQs or a quick and healthy snack during the day with only four ingredients.

Cantaloupe Bread with Praline Glaze

If you’re looking to incorporate cantaloupe into baked goods, you need to try this cantaloupe bread with praline glaze. There are so many fantastic reviews on this bread, where so many have raved about the sweet taste and incredible texture. This is sure to be a recipe worth trying.

Closeup of Japanese melon bread made with a variety of green cantaloupe or melon.

Whipped Frozen Cantaloupe Creamsicle

All you need for this fantastic recipe is some frozen cantaloupe, milk, honey, and whipped cream. So simple to make, this whipped frozen cantaloupe creamsicle is going to be a staple drink this summer. The best perk, you can make this into a cocktail by adding a bit of spiced rum.

Health Benefits of Cantaloupe

Not only are cantaloupes a sweet and juicy snack they also offer many health benefits. One of the biggest is antioxidants. Antioxidants fight off free radicals that we encounter daily, pollution, for example, and reduce the risk of certain health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis.

Closeup of cantaloupe slices.

Cantaloupes are also beneficial for our skin. These magical melons have over one hundred percent of our daily value of vitamins A and C. Vitamin A helps your skin by preventing damage from the sun’s rays and vitamin C helps up your body’s natural collagen.

Planting and Growing Basics

Finding the Seeds

Maybe you want to try your hand at cultivating your very own melons in your backyard this season? Some of the Japanese cantaloupes we discussed previously are only grown in Japan, and their rights are reserved for those farmers only. But, if you are looking to grow the next $50,000 melon, you may have the opportunity.

We’ve found many various Japanese melons seeds on Etsy. Additionally, you can purchase the Yubari King Melon seeds from the Seeds Gallery Shop, an online retailer selling an abundance of different seeds for your planting pleasure.

If you’d prefer to stick to growing cantaloupes that are a little easier to find seeds for, we can help you there! There are plenty of seeds for growing all kinds of delicious cantaloupes available on Hoss Tools and Amazon. Order today and you’ll be enjoying the sweetest cantaloupe you’ve ever tasted later this summer!

Person placing seeds in peat growing cups.

Planting and Care

As long as you live in the right conditions for growth and give the cantaloupes a bunch of free space, they should grow wonderfully in your garden.

Depending on the specific type of melon you decide to purchase, the planting and climate conditions could vary. Here we are going to go over a brief simple guide to planting cantaloupe seeds.

Closeup of cantaloupe on the vine.

After the last frost, makes sure to rototill the garden bed you choose to plant your melons and cover with a layer of organic compost.

Sow the seeds 1/2 of an inch below the compost’s surface and spread the seeds at least thirty-six inches apart.

Once the seeds have germinated, it’s good to thin out the seedlings, so there are only one to two per thirty-six inches.

If the soil is over seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit, it should only take a few days to germinate, and once they have, they are pretty easy plants to care for. As long as they have adequate sunlight at least six hours a day and water, around an inch a week or more, depending on if it was a sweltering dry week, your cantaloupes should be sprouting in no time.

Closeup of cantaloupe seedlings in the sun.

If you have placed down the organic compost, there is no need to lay down any fertilizer, but if you have skipped that step, it would be a great idea to fertilize with a well-balanced fertilizer once and a while when growing your cantaloupes.

Wrapping Up Japanese Cantaloupes

So much can be said about these fantastic Japanese Cantaloupes. These luxurious melons can be sold for top dollar or sold at the local markets for everyone to pick up and enjoy. Some of these melons are grand enough to use as gifts for weddings, graduations, anniversaries, or special celebrations.

Closeup of cantaloupe for sale at a Japanese market.

If you’re looking for a healthy snack, Japanese cantaloupes are one of the best with their many health benefits. There is no guilt when choosing to indulge.

When wanting to plant your Japanese cantaloupes, you can order seeds from online retailers. Cantaloupes are pretty easy to grow, so you could be on your way to enjoying your very own melons the next gardening season.

Excited for more cantaloupe content? Then check out my cantaloupe page for growing tips, info guides, recipes, and more!