Seeing as we weren’t celebrating last night after the Rugby we felt human enough to wake up early and meet Maruhiro at his main fish house. What he had in store for us today, only he knew. By 8am we had fish in the bowl… a lot of fish. Sorting through the Koi, we had Showa, Gin Rin Tancho Showa, Orenji Ogon, Ki Matsuba Ogon and a couple others. Happy with all of them, now the hard part begun. Negotiating with Maruhiro, he said in true Maruhiro fashion “You need more fish”. Giving us prices on everything, we knew we’d need to negotiate. He then grabbed the net and started catching more koi! A beautiful Gin Rin Kohaku, Chagoi and Yamabuki went in the bowl, big ones too. By putting these Koi in the bowl the price was much more attractive now. We were happy with the deal and Maruhiro was happy, we shook hands and proceeded to take photos and videos. Maruhiro is probably one of the best salesman, businessman, breeder, comedian all rolled into one.
While photographing the Koi, Maruhiro and staff were busy netting Koi. Why ? We weren’t sure. In a few minutes time the wallet was going to find out! Walking down the steps towards the bottom of the fish house there was a floating net full of Koi. Maruhiro offered us all of the koi, 160 to be precise. A mixture of Go Sanke, Gin Rin Go Sanke, Kawarimono, Hi Utsuri, Ki Utsuri, Matsubas, Ogons, all sorts! These were nisai 30-40cm. Some of these will be available at the Winter Event 2020 at superb prices!!
Well we hadn’t done that before, 160 Nisai and 13 larger Koi within an hour. Not sure we’ll top that for a while. Tomorrow we go back to Maruhiro as he said he may have something of interest he’d like to offer us. See what I mean ? The best salesman going.
Leaving Maruhiro with our pockets empty, we drove up the winding mountain roads up to Yagenji’s Sansai House. Yagenji breeds a mixture of varieties. Specialising in Karashigoi, Kikusui, Goromo, Shiro Utsuri in particular he also has nice Asagi, Go-Sanke and other varieties. Hunting in the crystal clear water, once fish are in the bowl here they rarely have to go back as you’ve had a good look at them in the pond prior. It’s always a pleasure picking Koi here, the ambience is peaceful and relaxing.
Netting up 3 Shiro Utsuri and a Gin Rin Kohaku all Female and Sansai. Skin quality on all were very good indeed. The Shiros all had good shapes, silky sumi, good patterns yet all were quite different in their own right. A simple 3 step Female Gin Kohaku possessed very good Gin Rin and a lovely body.
Hopping in the car we went up the hill to the Nisai House. It’s always busy in this fish house and today was no different. Waiting 20 minutes or so, we let the people in the fish house finish their business then we made our way in. Grabbing nets we dipped into various ponds. To begin two perfect Akame Karashigoi went in the bowl, both different in colour yet very clean and piercing red eyes. More Nisai went into the bowls, Showa, Asagi, Kikusui, Kohaku, Gin Rin Kohaku, Shiro, Bekko, Sanke, Gin Sanke and others. Final decisions were made. Happy with selections and prices we bought the Koi then had to quickly get to Marusei for our appointment. Later in the trip we’ll be back to Yagenji to photo and video the Koi.
Off to one of Marusei’s Jumbo Koi fish house, Yoshiyuki welcomed us. Water already in the bowls, we were going to walk away with something. I think it was just a matter of how big! In here there are two long ponds identical in size either side of the central walkway. The walkway was boarded with ply bord which had seen much better days, each board you stepped on felt like you were going to fall through into the filter chambers beneath, risky business! I placed my camera bag by the door out of the danger zone.
Giving Yoshiyuki-san our budget for Koi he started bowling. In the ponds koi ranged from 80cm to over 1m. Huge Chagoi, Karashigoi, Mukashi Ogon, Ki Matsuba, Cha Utsuri, Soragoi, Kogane Ochiba and a couple of odd balls. Helping Yoshiyuki netting and bowling Koi, a Benigoi at 83cm and Mukashi at 87cm went in the bowl. Analysing both, they were pretty good for the money. Good shape, colour, clean and everything you could want for those varieties. Next thing we know another Koi was netted up. As soon as the sock went in the bowl the water rose. What on Earth is in this sock. Releasing it, an even bigger Mukashi Ogon, this time 93cm! We couldn’t turn these 3 fish down, price and quality was right. I think Yoshiyuki was feeling it after chasing the big Koi around, he sat in the middle of the floor cross legged and starting stretching his back. The amount of physical work these guys put in day in day out must take its toll.
Now for the fun part, photos! Going to admit these aren’t my finest photos. Capturing big fish in shallow rectangle bowls with no cover is frustrating and time consuming. Hope they look good! In the videos on the website, you may understand what I mean about the dodgy flooring.
Videos of the three bigger fish below.
We then drove a few minutes away to the main koi house. Koi in abundance here no matter when you visit, all varieties, all shapes, sizes and quality. The smaller fish ponds were busy with people choosing Koi so we made our way to the top ponds at the back of the fish house. Checking out one of the Sansai ponds, we teamed up with a handful of nets and bowled up a dozen or so fish. These ponds are so long, catching koi on your own is nigh on impossible. In the bowl we had Chagoi, Sanke, Showa, a cracking Kin Matsuba, Yamabuki and Mukashi. Great bodies for potential growth and nice examples. The Sanke and Showa surprised me as to their quality. Fingers crossed the sumi develops on the head of the Showa, could be very nice in future.
Finishing up for the day, we managed to get back to the hotel before dark for once! Plenty of work to do, so keep an eye out on the website. Fish being uploaded daily!