Another wet and miserable day in Niigata, the wind had picked up and the rain was falling sideways.
Starting at Marudo, we shortlisted a few of the ponds to see what we could find. Famous for his Sanke and Kohaku’s, Marudo was praying for success at this years Nogyosai Koi Show which was underway this weekend. Last year they took the Grand Champion grown with a phenomenal Kohaku. Around the 98cm mark, she was swimming in one of the end ponds in the fish house. She was still in impeccable condition. The runner up last year was also from Marudo, this year she was entered again. While we were at Marudo we received news that they had won! Two years on the trot for Marudo, with two different Koi, a great achievement for the farm.
Going back to Autumn 2016? you’ll see a blog post about an azukari Koi we had at Marudo. Unfortunately it died so Marudo pointed to a pond and said we could have any Koi from this particular pond. Immediately I pointed out this same Kohaku when it was in the mid 80cm’s, funnily enough this was one of two Koi in the pond we couldn’t have as a replacement. Nearly! Better luck next time. Reports say she’s now 94cm and looking the best she’s ever looked. Photo below from the 2017 Nogyosai when she won runner up. Photo credit: Mark Gardner, UK.
Back to the ponds for sale we saw some potential purchases. The price was a little high and it was slim pickings so we decided not to select today. We have a few breeders lined up that may offer similar Koi, so we’ll see what we find elsewhere and may come back later in the trip.
Congratulating Marudo on his success we said goodbye and drove a few minutes to Nogami.
Meeting Chikara Nogami at the house, we drove immediately to the main fish house to view his Nisai and older koi for sale. Nogami specialises in Kohaku and are up there with some of the best in Japan.
With ponds still to harvest, he was slightly slim on the ground with the quality we were looking for. There was a pond full of Nisai Male Kohaku and Showa that were worth considering. Remembering from last Spring that we bought a whole pond of Tosai, Chikara-san quoted us to take the whole pond of Nisai! We don’t want to make this a habit! An interesting offer that we will have to think about over the next day or two. Bowling some of the Koi up, the quality was really nice and a good size too. Many of which you couldn’t even tell were male.
We’ll have a think about these !
We then drove for 45 minutes to the Koide region. Here you’ll find breeders such as Murata, Takahashi, Kobayashi, Wada and Tazawa.
Our first stop was Wada to view his Asagi and a few other varieties he produces. It would seem that Wada had quite a bad summer as there was not many Asagi’s here for sale, not compared to usual anyway. He went on to explain that he lost of of his largest mud ponds this year. Due to the extreme hot weather the temperature was far too high, then it suddenly rained and was cold. This fluctuation in temperature he believes caused for the whole pond to die. Very sad news for Wada-san. With this in mind, he didn’t seem too down hearted and was very chatty and in good spirit as he always is.
Spotting a handful of Koi that were of interest, we knew we couldn’t make a box from here so on this occasion we had to leave empty handed. We had great success last year with his Asagi, Matsuba, Haijiro and Soragoi. This would be one occasion we wouldn’t purchase from here. Very appreciative of his time we told Wada we’ll see him in Spring for Tosai.
Next up was Takahashi, here I was on the hunt for one or two of his famous Beni Kumonryu. We started in a Nisai pond selecting through Kohaku, Kujaku, Gin Rin Hariwake and a few doitsu varieties. Selecting 16 in total from one pond, we turned our attention to the better quality Nisai and Sansai ponds, as well as his Nisai tategoi selections.
Pointing out a Kujaku, we were pleasantly surprised to hear it was for sale. Only one of two Kujaku in the Sanasi pond, it was great quality and had everything you’d want in a Kujaku. The reticulation around the shoulder area was blinding, it really did resemble the open tail of a peacock. Hence the name “The Peacock koi”. The bright metallic lustre really made up for the miserable rainy day.
Next in the bowl went two Beni Kumonryu, both really striking. Takahashi was pleased that we shared the same enthusiasm for his Beni Kumonryu as he did, both of the Beni Kumonryu were considered as his tategoi, which meant they weren’t cheap! The price was still fairly reasonable in all honesty, considering the quality of them and being female. In the end we had one of these which is £995.00, if anyone is interested in the lighter coloured on in the video then please get in touch (very high class and £1,795.00). Both 40cm and both female. The name Kumonryu originates from a legend that tells the story of a Dragon (Ryu) taking off into the sky and transforming into a cloud. The sumi running along the lateral line on the side of the Koi is just stunning.
A very dark and moody day I captured one of my favourite views in the Koide region, encapsulating the Koi houses, steep rugged mountains, the gentle stream just outside Takahashi’s koi houses with rather miserable weather. I think I have captured this view in every season and every type of weather. I’ll try dig out older photos and post them.
Saying our thanks to Takahashi, we went to see Murata. An incredible breeder that breeders Kohaku. Catching up with Shinji-san, we viewed what he had available. Red and white in vast numbers, we were offered a pond of Tosai, hopefully we’ll get back in Spring as winter isn’t the best time to ship Tosai.
Shinji-san told us he had harvested a F%*$!*(! awesome Kohaku. His words not mine. Shinji-san has extremely high standards of his koi, so when he said that expression we knew this Koi would be special. Taking us over to another Koi house, he showed us the 86cm Kohaku that was in absolutely stunning condition. We ‘ve seen this koi for the past two years, it’s around 8 years old now but the youthfulness is second to none. This Koi won Best in 70bu in the 2014 Nogyosai, and it came 3rd in last years Nogyosai (coming 2nd to this years Nogyosai GC). It’s had a long and successful show career which is very rare.
After last years Nogyosai Show, someone bought the Kohaku. So unfortunately she couldn’t be entered into this years show (The Nogyosai is for breeders Koi that are unsold). Shinji-san was convinced this would have won regardless of what other Koi were there! We asked Shinji-san if it would go to any other shows like the All Japan. He replied with, probably not and that he doesn’t care much for the shows, Murata is number 1 anyway. A great reply that left us speechless for a moment!
Photo: Credit Mark Gardner @ The 2017 Nogyosai. Now 86cm
Now dark and getting late, we made out way back to Nagaoka.
Tomorrow we take another decent drive out, this time to Nagoshi Koi Farm based in Toyama. A farm we have always liked but can’t always get to due to it being far from the Nagaoka/Ojiya area. Here we hope to find Go-Sanke, Asagi, Yamabuki and Shiro Utsuri.