Day IX & X – Diamond in the woods

Nearing the end of our trip this was to be our last full day in Niigata. Tomorrow after lunch we head to Tokyo, then on to the airport to depart home. 

This trip has been our most successful to date, purchasing a range of variety at all different price points. Having so much time in Niigata has really paid off as we have been able to visit the same breeders numerous times, this allows us to compare prices and koi at different breeders. Also it allows us to see if breeders have got new Koi in to select from. Timing is everything, we’ve certainly missed out on some great koi, but equally we’ve managed to get into places before anyone else to get the pick of the bunch. 

We started the morning at Oofuchi Koi Farm where I was on the hunt for a Hariwake for a customer. The two brothers and father greeted us at the house and showed us the Sansai for sale. We had a few Koi in the bowl, including Hariwake, Kujaku and Tancho Sanke. The best Hariwake was the only one of real interest, however instead of a Lemon yellow, it was more orange, on its way to being a Kikusui which unfortunately wasn’t what I was after. We kept the Koi in the bowl and went up the road to the higher quality Koi house. In Oofuchi’s best pond there were Kujaku in abundance, a good amount of Hariwake, and beautiful Goromo. All good sizes, 65cm and above. Finding a Maruten Doitsu Hariwake, it looked to have the best colour and metallic sheen out the bunch, the Father got his note pad out of his jacket pocket and made note of which Koi it was. Without a word, he walked out of the Koi house and got the attention of one of his sons, the two returned and started to look at the Koi… The two then left the koi house again and got the last brother in to have a look. The three of them now conversing in whispers on the other side of the pond. It was starting to get crowded and the precarious floor was seeming more dangerous by the second. Fifteen minutes later, the price was quoted. 

Funnily enough, we then walked (carefully) out of the Koi house and said thank you to the Oofuchi gang, but it was far far over budget for our customer, especially for this kind of variety. We’ll definitely be back in Spring to select through his Nisai as always.


We then took a drive out deep into the woods to Hosokai Koi farm. On arrival we noticed something new at the farm. Hosokai had erected a sign post warning of bears in the area. He mentioned a few months ago, a bear was spotted very close to the houses. I wouldn’t walk up that path at night! 


We didn’t have anything in mind to try and purchase here. We really get on with Masaru-san so we thought we’d pop in, have a coffee and say Hello. Not going quite to plan,  within five minutes I had bowled up an absolutely blinding Gin Rin Shiro Utsuri.  How this was still available I don’t know, maybe Masaru-San was asking too much for it. Looking at the koi in detail it had a great body for it’s size, good motoguro in both pecs and a well balanced pattern. The skin was incredibly good, having only been harvest a week ago Masaru-san mentioned that the sumi is coming up very fast. The Gin Rin itself was magnificent, working it’s way over the shoulder and down the back of the koi, every angle you saw the Koi at, different areas of the gin rin lit up. The gin rin paired with the sumi very well, offering beautiful contrast. We hope the sumi will continue to get richer over winter at the shop, Being 53cm, it’ll be extremely good for koi shows. 

Eyeing up a Shiro Utsuri, it also possessed excellent attributes. Snow White skin and glossy sumi that really stood up in the bowl. 

Prices were quoted, a little bit rich to start with. Masaru-san could see we weren’t overly keen. Masaru took some time and started to talk about the purchases we made last year, he remembered most of them well, even mentioning certain elements to the patterns. With the amount of fish these breeders produce, it’s amazing how they can remember particular Koi and who bought them. Masaru-san made us some coffee and we discussed the price further. After some talking, we came to an agreement. Very thankful to Masaru-san for allowing us to purchase these and make them reasonably priced back home. 

Highly recommended Gin Rin Shiro Utsuri, Female, 53cm and Nisai. 

Shiro Utsuri, Female, 55cm and Nisai. 

Two wonderful finds buried in the forest at Hosokai! 

The Nogyosai Show was now out of the way, but tomorrow sees the Niigata Breeders auction. The majority of breeders were now helping to set this up. The amount of work these guys to do promote the Koi industry is second to none. All members of the Shinkokai chipping in and doing their bit. With this in mind, we knew not many breeders would be around to serve us.

Driving back to the Yamakoshi area, we went back to Kanno to finalise which of the eight Goshiki we were having. Finding it tricky to choose between them all, we narrowed it down to four out of eight. Photos and videos were done. Four very high class Goshiki from the worlds best Goshiki breeder. Having only four, meant the price went up a little, but were happier doing this, than having eight of them! Very thankful to Kazuhiro-san for holding these for us while we decided.

These four are now for sale and will be on the website shortly, three females and one awesome male, 40 – 45cm. 


Once again we ended the day at Yagenji having a coffee and relax! I hope Daisuke-san isn’t get sick of seeing us.

Day IX and a half

Having only a few hours this morning to make some final purchases, the mountains were very quiet with the Niigata Breeders auction taking place.

We caught up with Mistuhiro Tanaka at Marushin Koi Farm to see our Showa we have here, now Sansai she was looking in good nick at around 65cm. Unfortunately she was in a treatment after just being harvested so we didn’t want to bowl her for photos and videos. Unfortunately we didn’t see anything else at Marushin of interest… in terms of Koi anyway!

Twisting Marushin’s arm a little, we bought the last of his Jumbo Nisai Tamasaba, forty one in total! Maybe 10 days in the mountains has sent us crazy! With a great price for the whole pond we bit the bullet and shook his hand. These will be for sale once in the U.K at varying price points. I’d never individually photographed a Tamasaba before. So I gave it a go. Realising there were 40 more to do, the towel was thrown in. These will all come certificated from the Tamasaba guru of Japan.

These are all Nisai, Female and all have decent patterns. The parent is 45cm long! Which is the size of a small melon. These are going to get big (by Tamasaba standards).

2N3A6004 copy


A hilarious end to our most successful trip to date. 

Many thanks for reading the blog, I always aim to give you an honest account of what happens out in Japan, giving you a taste of what we see day in day out. Sure there are ups and downs, but the ups far out weigh the downs. It’s what makes Koi trips such a great experience!

Thank you, and see you soon!

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