Niigata Day One

Nearing the end of our trip, what better way to spend the last 3 days than in Niigata, the home of Nishikigoi.

All a bit of a whirlwind at first we soon became accustomed to the darting round, hopping in and out of the car and grabbing drinks from the vending machines every hour or so! We visited many many breeders over the few days. We knew we wouldn’t be purchasing a great deal here, but hopefully we’d find a few special pieces, and a box or two of Tosai.

Please note the following is in no particular order!

Miyatora, everything immaculately clean with large high roofs, really makes a different when there is great ventilation in a koi house, lovely and cool. Great Shusui and Gin Rin Tancho were notable, not quite what we were after but sure to be back here in the week.

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Marusei/Hirawsawa absolutely everything at all grades, there were many ponds that were only separated by a concrete block width, filled to the brim with koi, great for people looking for variety at sensible prices. It was koi on a mass scale, such a huge set up. Notably there were lots of single coloured big quality fish,  as well as kin ki utsuris, matsubas, hi utsuris etc. Onto the  fathers koi house containing a few better examples, there was a great looking pond of Karashi, Kigoi and Chagoi that we almost bit the bullet and bought from, but  they were not on our shopping list !  A great place for people new to Niigata, lots to choose from and a good range of prices, truly catering for everybody.

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Choguro the man that is always smiling. A lovely quaint place with a few koi houses, one house in particular you could tell that it hadn’t been touched for many many years, with old wooden boards running from pond to pond, a slat wooden door it felt almost homely! In the winter it wouldn’t be the warmest of places with it’s cool draft coming through the walls at all angles. Can certainly see why this guy specialises in Platinum Ogons, quite remarkable peering into the ponds and just see flashing lights from the depths!

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Yamazaki, very friendly person, who speaks great English. Welcoming and kind, he would really go out of his way to make your visit a good one. With many ponds containing tosai, the quality was pleasant with some lovely smaller koi up to 20cm that is definitely on the shopping list for next time !

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Yagenji was another head spinner, an impressive koi house, looking down the valley straight in the direction of Ikarashi Kazuto. In each pond there were notable fish of discussion, we could have spent a long while here. Especially the Kikusui’s, his tategoi for the year simply looked stunning. The quality was superb, along with the lusture and colour, the patterns were ones you couldn’t help but look at. A definite highlight of the day !

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Shinoda, awesome Showas on their way to the mud ponds that simply screamed potential, Hi Utsuri’s were out of this world, the best I had ever seen, a sea of orange and black, a great moment. These were his true tategoi and were completely off limits to anyone that tried to gain access! Unfortunately, not a great deal here at this time of year that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Autumn time here could get very interesting…

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Hiroi to name a few ! Goshiki galore, lovely new looking place, very accessible with lots of room to navigate the ponds. Many stunning Doitsu varieties were to be seen here, as well as their special Goshiki’s, both in abundance here, another breeder that protects his tategoi selections with all of his might, cannot wait to see the harvest in Autumn, I can see us having a field day here!

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Finally for the day, Ikarashi Kazuto, a lovely man with a captivating smile, we just had to view his koi! In the first house with many ponds on the lower level we straight away recognized the famous pond under the stairs, here he held some of his special (very expensive) nisai pieces that would be going to Japanese shows. Such a friendly man he was always smiling and nodding So much so that he gave us a bargain price on a cracking Kohaku, once bowled he sighed a number of times as to the price he had quoted! Happy with the sale explaining it has to go to mud pond. Using one of the oldest and proven bloodline’s , he was adamant that it would become something really special. Now, even more smiles all round it was a great end to the day.

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