The Sakura was starting to come out in Nagaoka now, driving past the same rows of trees each day you can see the blossom slowly coming out. Another couple of days and this will look spectacular.
First thing we drove out to Oofuchi. Here we had a few customer requests to potentially fulfill, select some Nisai for the shop and see what else they had hidden away.
Starting in the main Nisai koi house the Oofuchi family were out in force. Welcoming us to the koi house, the air was turned off and they explained that we were able to select from every pond. Around 10 ponds in total to go through, I had a quick scout out in each pond then worked from right to left selecting out Koi.
Around 40 made it into the bowls, then from there I split them into various bowls. Some koi were returned to the pond as on closer inspection there was the odd issue. We ended up with 20 Koi, Sanke, Kohaku, Showa, Ochiba, Kujaku, Goromo and Hajiro.
All on the website and pose great value for money!
After selecting the Nisai, we went up to the Higher class Nisai and Sansai house. Here we eyed up some Koi the night before, so it was time to bowl them. See what else we could find and then start the price negotiations (which is always entertaining at Oofuchi). Bowling up a perfect Purachina, Doitsu Hariwake, Matsukawabake and Kumonryu. All very different, and typically Koi that we wouldn’t buy on a spring trip. Two of the above were customer requests, so we had to make up the boxes in order for the shipping to be sensible. We ideally needed one more Koi.
Scanning the pond I drew my attention away from the weird and wonderful varieties and honed in on a beautiful Kujaku. The beni was so intense, reticulation good and a very clean head. Funnily enough it was the most expensive koI out the bunch. Deliberating over it. We bit the bullet and went for it.
All in all a very good visit to Oofuchi, as always!
After Oofuchi we popped back to the main area of breeders to scoot around a handful to see what was worth making an appointment at. Calling up Ikarashi Toshinobu, he said he’d make a koi show selection for us to see. On the phone he did say not to get our hopes up. Well, at least he was honest. On arrival they were already in the bowl, some really weird and whacky Koi in there. Doitsu Goromo, Kogane Ochiba, Beni Kumonryu, and a few Koi that I coulldn’t even identify! Unfortunately they weren’t for us, so we said thank you to Toshinobu-san and moved on.
Parking up at NND, we walked around the koi houses. Said hello, then goodbye to Oomo-san. We left relatively quickly as we had a call from Kawakami to say he had Tosai Goshiki ready for selection. We’ll be back at some point to NND, on this occasion there didn’t look like much of interest.
Teleporting to Kawakami farm in a flash. We first took some time to quiz Takashi-san about his Koi, in particular his Goshiki. He explained that in the last 10 years or so Goshiki have become very popular, yet breeders have always struggled to get consistently good bodied ones, that attain a good size. He’s made it his mission to achieve this. By viewing the Goshiki in the ponds, you could clearly see he was going in the right direction. The bodies on the Goshiki were totally different to what you’d find on Kanno or Minuma Goshiki. Yet there was a resemblance to Hiroi’s Goshiki. Chubby cheeked and bid bodies. Although Hiroi doesn’t breed as many high class Goshiki like they use to, the body attributes to theirs and Kawakami’s were very similar indeed. Takashi-san went on to say that this is where his Goshiki breeding started, from Hiroi Oyagoi. Moving forward with his Goshiki now, he has developed the bloodline now to a point where he just needs the years under his belt to grow the Koi and access the quality year on year. He showed us a couple of the parents used which were certainly showing their age now, but the shapes mirrored those in his Nisai and Sansai Koi on view. From Kindai Goshiki, to Kuro Goshiki to fully reticulated Goshiki. There were some striking examples.
Kawakami also breeds Shiro Utsuri, Gin gin Shiro Utsuri, Hajiro, Shusui, Asagi, , Kumonryu, Beni Kumonryu and a handful of others. He had some of the best examples of these varieties swimming around in the “Not for sale” pond that you’d see anywhere in Japan. For a small farm, they really are sitting on a gold mine.
Moving into the Tosai house, we proceeded to bowl small Tosai Goshiki for the shop. Some lovely little examples in here. Should be fun watching these grow. These will be available in the shop once out of QT.
Last stop of the day was Nogami. Saying hello to the Father and Son team. We were shown a pond of Jumbo Tosai ready for our selection the following day. Some great bodies and patterns in here. They were being heavily fed at the moment so Chikara-san said we will be able to select from the pond in the morning as he’ll stop the feed and do water changes.
Tomorrow morning we’ll be back to get the net in.