Kagoshima: Massive Sakurajima Daikon Wins Annual Contest, Weighing in at 30 Kilograms

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Farmer Shunichi Hazemoto holds his winning Sakurajima daikon during an annual contest for the vegetable in Kagoshima City in late January.

KAGOSHIMA — A 30-kilogram Sakurajima daikon has won its weight division at an annual contest held late last month at the foot of the vegetable’s namesake volcano in Kagoshima City.

A specialty crop in Kagoshima Prefecture, Sakurajima daikon was once certified by Guinness World Records as the heaviest radish, with one weighing 31.1 kilograms.

Thicker than other varieties, Sakurajima daikon weigh 10 to 20 kilograms on average. They have a mild flavor and usually maintain firmness even when boiled.

The daikon used to be cultivated in wider areas around Mt. Sakurajima, but the number of growers has declined in recent years.

The contest was launched to motivate growers of the vegetable. This year — the 24th edition of the contest — 56 daikon were submitted, including some cultivated by elementary school students. Judges examined the shape and surface of the submissions, while also tapping them with a bar to check the insides.

The top award in one weight division went to farmer Shunichi Hazemoto, 66, whose submission weighed in at 30.1 kilograms. The runner-up went to a daikon grown by his son Shunta, 33.

“It was hard to grow daikon in the warm winter we had this year, because some developed hollow insides,” Shunichi Hazemoto said. “I’m glad because it’s rare for a father and son to win the top two spots.”