Today we were joined by Mark Gardner whome im sure most of you will either  know or heard of . Mark has spent much time in Niigata and is well known for his writings on the subject and photography of koi . So it was too good a chance to turn down when Mark suggested helping out with the photos and internet writing ! We started up the mountians to visit Hiroi . There are always many high quality koi at this farm , and today although the stocks were low , there was some very nice quality koi available . We started looking and bowling goshiki , as that was what we were looking for . But somehow we got lost along the way ( Mark G im blaming you ! ) and ended up bowling some sansai sanke ! After much debate we ended selecting two very nice sanke , 57 and 58 cm , both female and from SFF parents . One has exceptional skin quality , while the other had a great body shape , very pleased with said purchases , but not quite what we went there for in the first place , but thats Niigata for you , you never know whats around the corner . From here it was off to see the ever smiling Shintaro , he had some stunning koi , and a showa and kohaku that we may buy and leave in Japan for a year . we will be returning to this farm  again , but more about that later in the week . Still looking for goshiki we headed off to Kawakami koi farm . This farm is growing in reputation for many varietys upto all japan level . Once again we wernt disapointed , many nisai goshiki and a couple of sansai ones as well . While looking through the sansai a male kikisui was spotted and bowled , skin quality was amazing and purchased immediatley . When taking pics it become apparant that one of the sansai had a small deformity so was replaced with a very nice matsukawabake and smaller goshiki . The afternoon was stunning in the mountains and we headed up to Tanaka farm , this guy has some amazing koi but we were a little disapointed to find out that his tosai may all be sold out , hopefully we will find out toorrow if we can hand pick there . Disaapointment soon disapeared when it became apparant that a very high class yonsai sanke  MIGHT be available for sale . The skin on this sanke was just unbelievable , and if we purchase her , will be one of the best koi we have ever purchased full stop ! Some serious thinking to be done .......... From here it was round to Yamazaki koi farm , he had some very nice koi and we set about bowling nisai and a few sansai . Finally ended up with a nice varety of nisai including goshiki , doitsu hariwake , ochiba , sanke .The last but not least was a male sansai sanke , around 45-50cm not a massive size , but the skin quality was amazing and was purchased as well . Over all a great day , and hopefully i should have some great pictures to post in a while . In the action at Hiroi and Yamazaki . Two sankes from Hiroi , both sansai and female , first 58cm and the other 57cm . More pics in a while . Nisai goshiki from Kawkami , 35-40cm including one doitsu one . Stunning male sansai  kikisui around 50-55cm approx , Sansai matsukawabake around 50cm and female .7 nisai goshiki around 35-40cm . 9 nisai goshiki from kawakami ,sansai goshiki , Yamazaki sansai male sanke , nisai from Yamazaki.