Why Day 1.5 you might ask? Let me run you though my day so far...
My alarm clock went off at 6am YESTERDAY, for a 15 hour flight which just ran in to today, followed by a train, and another train, for a total transport time of 23 hours. I arrived in Nagaoka at 1.30pm and was picked up to go straight to the mountains to start koi hunting. It's 9pm in Japan and I'm just transferring photos and writing my blog. I'm looking forward to Day 2 as it will be much shorter!
I often get asked how much it costs to go to on buying trips, and usually no two trips are the same as flights and exchange rates vary from time to time.
So far I have spent £713 on an indirect flight from Birminham via Schipol to Tokyo Narita. My train fair from Narita to Ueno Station was Y2470 and my fare from Ueno to Nagaoka was Y8740 (roughly £160 return at Y140 per £). My hotel for 6 nights is Y40000 or £285 for a modest but comfotable room. That makes my fixed costs £1161. Not too bad really, just the food and drinks to sort, which is similar to the UK in most places with the exception of beer which is dearer.
Now I've spent that sum of money, it's time to start the koi hunting! October is a pretty special time to be in Niigata, as it's the harvest season. All the best two year and older koi are collected from their mud ponds and brought back to the safety of the indoor fish houses for winter, and to be displayed for sale.
Kaneko was my first stop of the day. It would be reasonable to say that Kaneko is a first breeder for a lot of visitors to Japan, it's at the bottom of the winding road up to Mushigame village, where you will find quite a concentration of koi houses and farmers. It's not the first farm from Nagaoka (The base all of my trips) but the range of varieties and prices make it suitable for most koi keepers.
Kaneko Koi Farm specialise in Shiro Utsuri and Kujaku, though you can find Ochiba, Doitsu Ochiba, Goromo, Showa, and Tancho varieties.
I've never been to Japan this early in the harvest season, usually going closer to the end of the month, and it's a little different - no all breeders have all of their koi harvested yet, and many will still be harvesting for a few weeks to come. I managed to pick up a selection at Kaneko but we will probably have to make a couple of trips back. Luckily it's very handy as it's on the route to a lot of places.
As it was already late afternoon, we headed to a breeder that we knew had some nice nisai in unusual varieties. Marusaka is a good place for the more modern types.
I was quick in with the net and had a bowl full of Hariwake, Kikusui, Kujaku, Doitsu Sanke, Beni Kikokuryu... I could have gone mad in this pond but I was a little reserved as it's not even my first full day. I also spotted a Sanke from Jinbei lines in the adjacent pond, and decided it was well worth snapping up. The sumi placement on the snow white shiroji was particularly pleasing!
It was well past dark, I was beyond tired, and it was time to go home. All koi purchased today can be found on the website by following the links below the pictures above or by clicking HERE.
Don't forget while I am in Japan to send your orders across, send me a message on Whatsapp to get LIVE updates of the purchased koi as I buy them - 07581 319290