Stood out the front of the hotel and the glorious sunshine had turned to rain, not to be deterred it was into the mini bus again, this time to fukashima who has a massive range of koi to suit all budgets, and again we were not to be disappointed. 1st in the bowl was a 50cm plus female sansai hi utsuri, soon joined an izumiya female yamabuki ogon around the same size, then a fantastic bronze coloured doitsu ochiba came into my view and was very quickley bowled at nearly 65cm i still bought it even though it was male. Two of our party then bought to more of the izumiya ogons (war of the ogon goes to essex). By the way in the winter i try not to buy many male koi but if you are looking for a variety and dont mind male then contact me and ill see what i can do, there where many three year old koi between 50-63 that will land in the uk for under £695 at this guys place, just to give you some of the varietys, goshiki, kohaku, tancho sanke, goromo, ogons, showa, doitsu ogon, shusui and many others. Just email me and ill have a look for you. Just as we were about to leave a little shiro grabbed me, excellant skin and could not be left behind, happy days are here again........................then off to a serious shiro breeder whose name even i cant rememeber but when we got there most were gin rin and not what our customer was looking for. As we were on that side of town our agent suggested we go to seijero, when i was a little younger i remember buying boxes of these guys showa and they were very good. He is now really expanding his kohaku side now so not many showa around. anyway we asked the prices and i thought they were a little high, he then took us to his sansai house and i was blown away, by this time it was near dark but fell in love with these pair of showa, so i have reserved them for the weekend. Got back to the hotel and was pleased to see our next group starting to arrive, oh well a change is as good as a rest!!
hi utsuri , 3 yr and female
55cm female , sansai great looking ogon
large sansai ,doitsu ochiba
With the news that the yen is getting worse by the day i think its safe to say we were struggling to find what we wanted at the right price, so it was back to those you know well. With that in mind it was back to oofuchi, and again he was happy to see us even though we had to wait for an hour for him to serve someone at a differant fish house. On with the koi, sansai sanke and kohaku that are around 55cm and will sell in the uk at £600-800. The first one bought was so clean and excellant skin soon everyone had koi in bowls. Two more kohaku swiftly bowled and again reasonable prices, then off to the better quality fish house where a small but very high grade sanke was purchased by one of our party, and three superb kohaku by another. After this by the time we got back to where the main breeders are it was time for lunch, then back towards mushigame and surrounding area. A quick stop at Takano and purchased another old style goshiki to go in the box with the monster we had bought earlier in the week. The rest of the afternoon was spent rushing around smaller breeders that our agent knows but gaain out of price or not good enough, but alot are getting ready to re harvest so lots of return calls on the card. Last stop of the day was another smaller unknown breeder but good quality and we purchased sansai and nisai hi utsuri, sorry the photos of the utsuri it was raining and I wanted me coffee..........................
kohaku sansai and sanke
pair of female kohaku , sansai and again around 50cm
superb nisai high grade sanke
old style goshiki from takano
selection of hi utsuris
After a good run yesterday we had thought our luck had changed. All day running round mushigame produced nothing, too expensive or lack of quality. Where is that middle ground koi .......lol, at the end of the day we finally managed to get to hirasawa where there were masses of great looking kohaku and sanke. Two purchased for the shop and that was the end of a very quiet day !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1st appointment today Igarashi Kazuto right up in mushigame. As usual he did not fail to impress the whole group, his quality is magical and i truly believe he is one of the best breeders in Japan. Koi were bowled up and i found myself with a 58cm tancho showa, very happy. Next stop was Tanaka, a whole pond of Tanchos around 30-40cm and as white as you like but very expensive so we moved quickly onto Iwashita who has a marvellous variety of weird and wonderfull selection and again fairly pricey but most of his varietys are hard to find. One particular example that caught our eye was a stunning scaled gin rin hariwake, with an inazuma pattern. While in mushigame we thought we would pop back to yagenji again and see when they were going to harvest again and to our pleasant surprise they had just done a small mud pond. I found a kohaku with a pattern and skin to die for, while customers bought a shiro utsuri and a super clean kikisui.
Heading back down the mountains we stopped at Kawakami to see if they had any matsuba ogons for an order i need, the ones they had were just to small but saw a very nice shusui yonsai that i have put on the go back and look at list. Into Ojiya city and a visit to hasegawa famous for his kohaku, but we still could find the elusive 4 step that our customer wants. With a large shiro on the order book we then went to hosakai round the back of ojiya and was shown a stunning sansai but again just out of our range. Over the top of the mountain and a visit to Oofuchi and things went very well. On our trips the customer always has first choice so when i saw a great sansai shiro one of the group wanted the koi bowled, but it wasnt quiet big enough so into my box it went along with a stunning doitsu platinum ogon.
After that it was every man for himself, steve bought a stunning 40cm tancho sanke, graham an exellant sanke with a superb lustre. not to be undone i found a few orders and koi for the shop, all femake and all sansai, matsuba ogon, tancho sanke, two doitsu hariwakes, then Oofuchi showed us a pond with nearly a dozen tanchos all around 40cm and made me an offer i couldnt refuse so we came away with more koi than we had bought in a few days, HAPPY DAYS as a good friend of ours would have said.
Two boxes of tanchos and a great view over oofuchis mud ponds.
Quick stop for egg sandwiches and we were off to our first stop Maradoh, amazing selection of go sanke and a whole pond of massive chagoi. But as was to be the course for the day, everything we wanted was not in the budget, and what koi were in our budget were not what we wanted!!!!! We then returned to Kaneco to see some three year old shiros that he had harvested and unfortunately again not quiet what we were looking for. Visits to Nagashima, Otsuka and Sakai found again the same old problem of quality verses price, but some amazing koi were seen with the promises of more to come from the mud ponds. Gontaro had some nice sanke and we may well go back and have a look later this week. Feeling a bit worn out and to say a little disappointed it was time to stop and have some curried rice and a re think. Fully refreshed it was off to the Jimbei farm where no one failed to see a koi that they fell in love with but again they were such high quality came the price, out of the blue we were offered this huge nisai sanke, nearly 60 cm with a body shape to much. price was so cheap i had to ask why, reply was "breeder doesn't like it " , fine , he doesn't, i do!!! So finally a purchase. A little way up the road from jimbei a little place we visit that has some unusual varietys and saw a large sansai hanna shusui which really caught my eye, may have to re visit and have a look. Our agent then receives a call from sakai saying he has harvested so it was back to see some stunning sansai which again a few koi we really liked but a night of reflection needed as they were not cheap.
After a late night at the bar with over 10 English and South African koi dealers and watching our old friend Toru getting very drunk and reminiscing old trips to Japan, and the old arguments of mine are bigger, better and cheaper than yours, it was time to get up and actually do what we were all talking about the night before! First stop of the day are our old friend Jurosky where a nice sansai female shiro utsuri and sansai aka sanke were purchased. Shiro looks a little stressed as it was in the bowl a long time, nice koi from a real friendly family so a good start to the day.
A quick drive up the road and we were in Torazo and i think the whole group were impressed with the high quality of Go sanke available. Nearly every one had a koi in a bowl, but the real high light was a smashing little nisai kohaku that one of the group had bowled, for the money it was a fantastic koi, then came the blow when a misunderstanding led us to believe the koi was male so it was sadly returned, then the agent pointed out it was female so it was re bowled, just as the customer agreed to purchase the breeder realised that it was a tategoi that had jumped from the pond next door, the price was now double and so the poor old kohaku was returned! I have put this in the blog for no other reason than to show people all sides to a trip to Japan and show how frustrating things can get, no bodys fault at all it was just one of those things. From there to Izumeer the home of jumbo koi, unfortunately the breeder was judging a koi show so we left with a customer seeing a rather nice Tancho sanke which we needed to get a price for. On to Sakazume who had a wide variety of good grade koi but nothing taking anyone's fancy it was time to move on again. Next breeder a personal favourite of mine Miyatora, again some very nice high grade tancho sanke but yonsai with a price to match. I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed as there was just not much the whole group really liked, hopefully we will return when he harvests again. With one of our customers needing a larger high grade shiro it was off to pay a little breeder we use a visit that proved to be very usefull. Some small good grade nisai were purchased and a 6 year old shiro reserved for one of our clients. (photo to follow) heres the nisai that were purchsed, sorry about the photo of some of the shiros, trust me the skin is superb and my photography very bad.