The Sun was out this morning and good thing too! An early start we met with Hoshikin at their farm. Katsuyuki had kindly bought us a set of new chest waders as the ones he had were slightly too small for us. Off we went into the mountains, the rocky single track proved a task in itself. Navigating the narrow sharp bends and steep climbs it took around 20 mins to get to the mud pond that we would be harvesting. In this pond were around 40 koi, all Nisai Kohaku. All of these Koi were sexed as female in the Spring, fingers crossed they were all still female!
Getting our waders on myself and Andy got stuck in. First job was to pull the net around the pond making sure no Koi skipped past our feet and net. Congregating towards the bank closed to the truck we started to lift the Koi from the murky waters. Out came some absolute beauties. These Koi ranged from 50-55cm and all packed big bodies.
While myself and Andy lifted the koi into the paddling pool, Katsuyuki was counting making sure there were none missing. Totalling up the final Koi we were one short. Dragging the net around the pond once luckily we managed to catch the lonesome Koi.
With the koi now harvested and in the tank on the back of the truck we drove back to the Koi house to view the results. Katsuyuki showing off his handling skills transferring the Koi into a bowl of clean water. He then proceeded to sex and grade them.
Moving on from Hoshikin we took a drive to Wada Koi Farm. Wada specialises in Asagi, Aka Matsuba and a handful of Kujaku. In Spring we purchased a small 18cm Asagi for the International Junior Koi Show, leaving it at the farm as an azukari we were dumfounded as to how Wada-san would identify and locate it. Showing him a photo of the koi as it was at 18cm he immediately pointed out which pond it was in. Grabbing the net and sock within seconds it was in the bowl. Amazed as to how Wada-san located it so quickly we compared photos of the Koi to the now Nisai in the bowl in front of us. Looking closely at how the scales were arranged and how the beni was placed on the Koi. It was certainly our Koi. Economically it wouldn’t be wise to just ship this one Koi to a box so we started searching the various ponds for any Koi that caught our eye. Netting a number of Koi we inspected them and made our final selection. Two more Asagi’s, Soragoi, Aka Matsuba and a cracking Aka Haijiro. Really pleased with the selections I took a quick photo and video.
Our next port of call was the Kohaku master. Murata. Last week Murata came 3rd place at the Nogyosai Koi Show, losing out to two Marudo Koi. Seeing this koi swimming in the same pond as our two Azukari was great. Side by side other than size the qualities were very comparable. Netting our two Kohaku’s up we were blown away with how they had progressed. Now in the high 60’s they were in impeccable condition.
Murata was very pleased and said that if he couldn’t be happy with these results then he should give up!
Two beautiful Kohaku that we purchased as Tosai, now Sansai and truly breathtaking. Beni quality of the highest order. Skin quality that glows. Shiroji that looked luminous.
Going back to Murata’s house we had coffee and discussed the future of the farm and we asked him about the diet he feeds his Koi. He’s a big fan of JPD Food especially Shori and Yamato. During the summer season Murata hands feeds each of his mud ponds two to three times a day, unimaginable for the amount of ponds and Koi he has. Murata has so many trophies from Koi shows he has a whole koi house full of them, some are still on the floor in the garage as overspill!
Making our way to say Hello to Kobayashi-san of Marusen Koi Farm he has some excellent Tosai that will be available in the new year. Viewing his Nisai unfortunately there wasn’t anything of interest to us. Kobayashi told us that he didn’t have the best of seasons with his Nisai due to the huge temperature fluctuations in the mountains, his mud ponds simply didn’t get warm enough. Many people that haven’t visited Japan believe that most farms have similar results year on year, this isn’t always the case especially at the smaller farms. This is one of the main reasons you see us buying Koi from various breeders one Autumn season, then possibly nothing in the Spring.
Driving back into Ojiya from the Koide region we went past Isa’s Nisai house where we had only been the previous day. Quickly turning the car around we thought we’d pop in again just incase they had new harvest Koi in. They sure did! Great timing Koi the had just been graded and placed into the ponds.
Here we selected 4 Male Koi all very high quality. Two Showas and Two Tancho Showas.
Finally we had bought a Tancho Showa! It was hard work but we got their in the end.
After Isa we went back to the hotel to get an early night.
Apologies for the slow update of the website. The long days here coupled with below average internet speed makes it very hard!