Harvest time is always exciting, with new fish appearing all the time. This is my job, but I am still a hobbyist, koi appreciation is something I very much enjoy. Sometimes I will visit a place to simply look at koi when I have the time.
We had an appointment at 10am, so called in at Kaneko on our way to see if there were any Tancho Kujaku available and an excited Yasuaki san waved us towards the Sansai and older pond. I expected the value of the Tancho Kujaku to be high so wouldn't be too surprised if he had put them there. When we opened the door, he netted 2 sansai, way out of budget for my my orders and what I could consider for stock. A couple of days later I would return and both would be swimming in the sales ponds!
One place I really, really enjoy would be our second stop of our 4th day in Niigata. If I was restricted to buying from only one breeder it would be here.
The Ishihara borthers produce some in the best koi in Japan, and you will find Kohaku, Sanke, Showa, and in Gin Rin and Doitsu varieties, as well as Shiro Utsuri, Asagi, Karashigoi, Kikusui, Goshiki, and Kujaku as well as a couple of others from time to time. Recently they have had Bekko in, bred from Bekko parents I believe which is very rare. The Gin Rin quality on the selected koi is outstanding and I picked out a few that I thought would do really well at koi shows in the UK.
As always at Yagenji I walked out very pleased, and I'm already looking forward to my next visit.
The next visit was an even bigger treat! A pond full, and I mean FULL, of Chagoi, Benegoi, Kigoi, Hi Utsuri, Yamabuki, Matsuba, and a couple of others. It was the Chagoi I came for though.
It's a bit like urban exploring up at the Utogi facility of Marusei koi farm, weeds are growing over the litter left by workers or visitors.
It feels like no one ever visits here, although almost everyone will pass it a few times on a week long buying trip. There were only large koi kept here, apart from the locked tosai houses. One pond contained fish at least 85cm up to possible 1 metre, a true sight to behold. These were way beyond any ones budget for stock, so we looked in the other building at the 70-80cm fish, and the negotiating began.
Watching the father lift 80cm fish with ease is fantastic, he's a real pro, but you would think that as I bet he's handled more one metre koi than anyone else in the world! Between myself and Gary of Gatwick Koi, we had 10 fish in a bowl. The largest turned out to be 85cm!
I selected an 80cm Chagoi and 75cm Benegoi, I think these will look good in a our new 4500 gallon main pond due to be completed this winter. Shame there was no alcohol spray at the Utogi facility to get some proper pictures.
Netting and selecting such fish was draining for everybody (apart from Seitaro Hirasawa, he's the hardest working man in Niigata!) and we called it a day, and it turned out this would be our earliest finish of the week.