Sakurajima Daikon Contest(桜島大根コンテスト)



In the city of Kagoshima, Japan, a certain type of radish has been causing quite a stir. Kagoshima City, the home of the volcanic island of Sakurajima, is not just known for its breathtaking landscapes but also its oversized daikon radishes.
Known as Sakurajima Daikon (or “Shimadekon” in the local dialect) these monster veggies have an agricultural history of over 200 years. Feeding on the nutrient-rich volcanic soil, these radishes can grow to epic proportions compared to other species, in a whole array of shapes and sizes. The iconic white, round shape is known throughout Japan, and even abroad. If you happen to enjoy video games (like me), you might recognise the shape from trading radishes to Tom Nook in Animal Crossing! Each year, these peculiar vegetables are celebrated at the Sakurajima Daikon Contest.
Radish enthusiasts and farmers alike gather for this unique occasion, where Sakurajima Daikons are measured against each other.
The competition is divided into several categories, each more thrilling than the last:
1. The Longest Daikon 
  • Contestants in this division aim to grow the longest Sakurajima Daikon. It’s not just about size; it’s about length.

2. The Widest Daikon 

  • Size isn’t everything, but it’s pretty close in this category. Farmers compete to see who can grow the daikon. The biggest recorded circumference of a Sakurajima Daikon measured 119 centimeters!

3. Most Unusual Shape 

  • The daikon with the quirkiest, most unexpected shape wins in this division.

4. Heaviest Daikon 

  • Forget dumbbells; some of these radishes could make a good replacement in any workout! In this category, farmers aim to harvest the weightiest Sakurajima Daikon, the heaviest recorded weighing a whopping 30 kilograms — worthy of a Guinness world record!

5. Tastiest Daikon

  • Because what’s the point of growing a massive radish if it doesn’t taste good? A panel of experts judges this division, looking for the best-tasting Sakurajima Daikon.

6. The Best-Looking 

  • The Daikon in this division are judged on their shape, the whiteness of their skin, the size and symmetry of their leaves, and the most picture-perfect daikon takes the crown.

7. The School Division 

  • This division is where local schools that have been rearing their own Sakurajima Daikon compete to see which class can grow the best.
The competition not only highlights the agricultural expertise of the area but also fosters community unity. So, if you ever find yourself in Kagoshima, don’t miss the chance to witness the Sakurajima Daikon Contest.