Day IV – Quality not quantity

A very wet and cold today was in-store for us today. Taking a drive out from the Yamakoshi area we visited a few breeders we hadn’t been to much before.

Ikarashi Ozumi had just harvested some Nisai so we arranged to get to the koi house for their arrival back from the mud pond. Unfortunately for Ozumi, due to the hot summer the mud ponds received little rain. No fresh water for the koi and excessive heat means low oxygen and not the best water quality. Ozumi explained that this has a knock on effect especially with their Nisai. The growth wasn’t great and we could tell the breeders were slightly disappointed. Watching the harvest koi being graded and split into their varying price points we watched closely as they inspected each Koi. With so many varieties in the bowl, Ozumi wasted no time in picking fish up in one hand, checking it, grading it. These guys are so quick and accurate! (video in slow-mo!)

The ponds were still priced the same as in Spring, yet we found it hard to find anything of interest. Giving it a chance, we grabbed a bowl and started netting some fish. After 10 or so minutes we viewed the Koi. Unfortunately, they just weren’t worth buying (mainly due to the size of them).

Not off to the best of starts, we had some time to spare before heading for our appointment at Aoki. Aoki we were really excited for as the koi we managed to source in Spring did exceptionally well back home and were received well. Before Aoki, we went to Kase. 

Breeder of Shiro Utsuri, Showa, a few Doitsu koi and Goshiki. Viewing the cheaper Nisai ponds for sale, it was clear that we had missed the boat at this breeder. Walking to the back of the fish house were his individually priced Koi, mainly Sansai with a handful of Nisai in there. Not many, but a few great koi to be had here, I pointed out a few Koi to gauge what the prices were going to be like. Pleased with the prices, we scooped out 3 koi that were of interest. Goshiki, Gin Rin Showa and Doitsu Showa. A nice little reward to turn the miserable day into a positive. Doitsu Showa and Gin Rin Showa Nisai Female, and the Goshiki Sansai Female. Very reasonable prices for the quality. 

Kase is one of the more organised breeders which makes a refreshing change to the usual chaos!

Moving on from Kase, our appointment with Aoki was nearing. We had really high expectations coming here, with intentions of buying big. Knowing our taste and the kind of level of Koi we were looking for, Aoki prepared a bowl of Nisai for us to consider. Silence…

Looking at one another, we all knew it wasn’t good news. Offering us a price for the whole bowl, and a price to hand pick from the bowl. We weren’t comfortable with either option and felt like we’d be buying for sake of it. Not too pleased with the selection. We asked Aoki about some better quality pieces, unfortunately he just didn’t have them. Apologising, Aoki took us around the fish houses with him, we could see he was very empty. He had a few very high class Koi tucked away for his tategoi, yet the prices would have been extortionate. Not the best of visits, that’ll teach us for having high expectations! Some may think that breeders quality and numbers of fish is the same year on year, this simply isn’t the case. They all have good and bad years. Saying our goodbyes, we said see you in spring for Tosai!

Metallic Tategoi under the wooden boards! Some of these looked spectacular.

A bit of another downer, next up…another downer! I won’t go into too much detail though.

After Aoki, we visited Abe. Known for his Kohaku, Goshiki, Kujaku and a couple of other varieties. We didn’t want to mess about, so we went straight to the pond holding Yonsai and above Koi. Pointing out a beautiful Goshiki with traditional robing in the beni, it was nigh on perfect. Funnily enough, it turned out to be his Female parent fish. Moving on! Then to his Nisai pond, like Ikarashi, not the biggest of fish, but the quality here was outstanding. Pointing out a Maruten Goshiki for a price, Abe-san smiled. This was his male parent fish for next year. The game went on. The next fish I pointed at is being entered into the Niigata Breeders Auction. The next fish, same again. The one after that, entered into the Nogyosai Koi Show so not for sale. Not having much luck today, I persisted and kept choosing Koi. Finally we had a bowl of 10 or so fish, Kohaku and Goshiki. Abe grabbed his photo albums with photos, gender and prices attached to each fish. With hundreds of photos, this was going to take a while. After half an hour, this wasn’t going to happen. We could see the prices written down on the note pad as he worked through finding each one. Not wanting to waste any more of his time, we said thanks but no thanks. 30cm Nisai (majority males) that would work out around £1,000 to £1,500 isn’t what the U.K. market is after which he fully understood. 

Needing a pick me up and wanting to get on the koi hunt we visited Izumiya Koi Farm to try and find a special Yamabuki for a customer order. Scanning the ponds, the Nisai weren’t really up to scratch. The Sansai were very good, but of course commanding higher price tags which was ok. For those that have visited Izumiya will know the monsters he has here, huge Yamabuki with body building bodies. We were tempted to have a dip in the 5 year and older pond, sky’s the limit in this pond, we behaved ourselves and stuck to the mission! Good body, light in colour, , even scale reticulation, clean head and a smooth head was what I was looking for in the Sansai Yamabuki’s. When there are dozens of Yamabuki in a pond, it can be tricky to spot the best one just with one glance, you really have to look closely. I did see one in particular, the more times it swam past me, the more boxes I could tick. In the bowl it went. Perfect. Seriously misbehaving in the bowl as all Yamabuki do, I very nearly placed her in the sold pond without getting a photo. One more try… Perfect.

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This Yamabuki is sold, but if you have any requests, drop me a message on Facebook or Email me at 

Feeling a lot better now about the day we popped to Marusei to scout out potential ponds to pick from tomorrow. Hoping to have some fun here in the next few days.

An up and down day which didn’t see many purchases. Quality over quantity prevailed in the end.

Tomorrow we aim to get to a Hoshikin harvest, Dainichi, Otsuka and Marusei.

Good night! 



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