Updated: July 12, 2017
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Summertime Japan Fun: Suikawari (Watermelon Pinata)

Summer gets a bit wild over here in Japan. The days get longer, the temperature gets kicked up a notch, and the typhoons start to close in. Summer is undoubtedly the best season to enjoy the outdoors and explore many of Japan's beaches. One favourite pastime in the Japanese summer months is to play the watermelon splitting game... Yes you get to smash watermelons!

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Smash 'Em & Eat 'Em

Suikawari (literally meaning watermelon splitting) is a traditional Japanese game quite large in Japan in the summer months. The game involves trying to split a watermelon while blindfolded.

You'll most certainly see people play this quirky game at beaches, parks, and various events.
Maybe you played pinata at your friends birthday parties when you were younger; the rules are pretty much the same.
First you lay out a watermelon on top of a plastic sheet. No one likes a sandy watermelon!
Then one by one you try to smash it open!

Each round the stick bearer is blindfolded and spun around three times, handed a stick and allowed to have a 3 minutes at swiping a hit!

The first to crack the watermelon open wins.
Once someone has split it open the pieces of watermelon are shared around and eaten.

It's not the best way to eat watermelon, but it is super fun!

Did you know?

There's actually a Japan Suika-Wari Association (JSWA). They even set rules to play the game!

I kid you not!

The rules and the association were established by the Japan Agricultural Cooperative (JA) in 1991 and help govern the game (maybe this is just for diehard fans?).

The organization no longer exists but there dreams of smashing watermelon remain!

So the rules...

1. Distance between player and watermelon: 5-7m
2. Stick: circumference of 5cm; length of 120cm or less.
3. JSWA-recognized blindfolds. To make sure the player can't see, spectators are encouraged to drop a 10,000-yen note in front of them.
4. Watermelon: a well-ripened domestic melon.
5. Time limit of 3 minutes.
6. Judging: Judges should rate the player on how pretty a break between halves they managed to make. Players who split the watermelon in equal halves receive a higher score than those that smash it into pieces.

Other details: Judges should have eaten at least 10 watermelons in the current year.

Now that's a lot of watermelons!

Let's get ready to rumble!

It definitely sounds like serious business! Why not give it a try this summer!
Jonathan
I've been traveling and eating my way around the world! Now I'm in Tokyo to share all my favourite spots! I spend my time traveling, surfing, hiking, camping and eating amazing food! My favourite Japanese food...Agedashi Tofu!

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