This melon specialty shop’s unique lucky bag puts a fruity spin on the New Year’s tradition.

Every January, SoraNews24 strives to bring you the best and weirdest in New Year’s lucky bags/fukubukuro. Up until now, we’ve always had a distinct lack of fruit-themed lucky bags–but that changed with our purchase of the Crown Melon Lucky Bag. A crown melon is a particularly famous variety of muskmelon often dubbed “The Japanese King of Fruits” that’s cultivated in the western part of Shizuoka Prefecture.

▼ The fabled crown melon

Now, in general, high-quality specimens of fruit are a luxuriously expensive gift in Japan. Perfectly shaped and perfectly packaged, it’s not uncommon for the rarest or most delicious varieties to fetch upwards of 10,000 yen (US$68) for an individual piece.

Being big fans of melons, we decided to purchase a Crown Melon lucky bag from Melon Shop Maeshima, a melon specialty store in Shizuoka with over 30 years of melon-growing experience, that was being sold on Rakuten Japan for 9,999 yen. It contained over 10 seasonal fruits, including the promised crown melon and some Mikkabi mikan citrus fruits.

The refrigerated box arrived a few days after we ordered it with a sticker that advised careful handling.

We first admired the carefully padded fruit inside of the box.

It felt triumphant to finally lift the stylish green melon box out of its packaging.

We immediately removed the perfectly round melon and placed it on a scale, which revealed the fruit to be 1.2 kilograms (2.6 pounds). According to the enclosed informational pamphlet, any of their shop’s melons around 1.3 kilograms are considered to be medium size.

Instructions for determining when the melon would be at its ripest were also included, and this one would be ready to eat about three days after being delivered. We also learned some neat melon trivia, such as the fact that they won’t ripen any faster in the fridge or that they should be ready to eat when there’s no more moisture on the vine.

On the top of the melon was a sparkly sticker with a crown symbol. It served as proof that this would be an outstanding specimen after being carefully grown and inspected before arriving at our door. The sticker also identified the individual producer number of this particular one, so we could actually trace the person whom we could thank for it later. It turns out that this particular producer takes such pride in their work that they even use their producer number on their car license plate!

After slicing it open and tasting the juicy goodness, we confirmed that it was just as sweet and delicious as predicted.

Next, we took a look at the Mikkabi mikan. This brand is also famous, and if you were to say “mikan” in Shizuoka, nine times out of ten it would probably be referring to these ones. They’re said to have a great sweetness and depth of flavor due to being grown in Hamamatsu City, which is one of the sunniest cities in all of Japan.

It’s easier to grasp the mikans’ size when holding one in the palm of a hand. A large one is said to weigh 180 grams, so the one pictured below was probably an extra large. We expected at least one of the five to be lacking in taste, but they all turned out to be deliciously sweet.

Of course, that wasn’t all. The lucky bag also included an assortment of other fruits like apples from Aomori Prefecture, persimmons from Fukuoka Prefecture, and dekopon (a variety of satsuma orange) from Saga Prefecture. We’d been half hoping to score some Shine Muscat grapes or pineapples, but this lineup made perfect sense for the winter season.

So is this Crown Melon Lucky Bag a good value for its price? After searching for the price of a single crown melon at the same store, we found that it normally retails for 5,800 yen. That meant that at the very least, all of the remaining fruit we received were valued at 4,199. We honestly weren’t sure if that’s a good deal or not, but we were certainly pleased with the quantity and size of all of these domestically grown fruits.

Since Melon Shop Maeshima specializes in melons, there’s no doubt that their melons are going to be ridiculously delicious. And since you can get almost two melons for the price of the lucky bag, we might recommend just purchasing two of those instead for any serious melon lovers out there. In any case, we’ll be happily munching our fruit to counterbalance all of the cheese from Domino Japan’s latest Cheese Volcano Pizza over the next week.

All images © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]