Yamazaki Koi Farm
Yamazaki Koi farm is now run by Manabu Zamazaki. They produce mainly metalic and doitsu varieties such as Harewake, Platinum Ogons, Yamabuki Ogons, Doitsu Purachina, Doitsu Yamabuki etc.
Yamazaki Koi farm sells most of their Koi to the wholesale market and the chances of you having a Koi from this farm is pretty high…
Hasegawa Koi Farm is very different to most of the other Koi farms around Niigata. He has always worked alone apart from the help of his wife. His children unfortunately have no interest in learning the Koi trade which is a huge shame. Once Mitsuo decides to retire which I hope is never but he is now in his late 60’s and he cant continue with the work load forever.
Hasegawa Koi are famous the world over, winning many shows all over Europe and America. Now Hasegawa San’s largest market is in Taiwan. He has some very good clients who buy most of his Tateshita each year.
His Tategoi are very sought after every year. You must be fast to purchase his 3 year old fish, they just sell out so fast. The reason for this is because previous clients who have bought his very best Koi return each year to buy again from Hasegawa. They can very expensive but return clients don’t mind this.
Dainichi Koi Farm
Dainichi is one of the most famous names in koi. Many current breeders did their training at The Dainichi Koi Farm, breeders such as Nogami and Marudo who are very high end breeders now in their own rights. They concentrate heavily on body shape, the original Dainichi body shape was huge and very impressive, It isn’t used as much today but when seen its an incredible sight to see. When Minoru Mano died the three sons were left to manage the company which today thrives as one of the busiest and professional Koi outlets in the world. Still using parent koi left to them by their father which stood them in excellent stead for carrying on breeding the worlds best koi. Winning The All Japan in 2007 with a stunning Showa, and also winning the ZNA and Nogyosai Koi shows in recent years. Dainichi koi are very big in Japan, with Japanese hobbiests and dealers getting there as soon as the harvests are brought in, meaning that they are not seen that much overseas winning major prizes, I have a feeling this will soon change.
They have 3 state of the art facilities in Niigata, one where they have the bigger stocks including sold koi, one where they grow on fry and one where they grade tateshita and also pack for export, they are huge units.
Today Futoshi Mano runs the company accompanied by his younger brother Shigeru who studied in America and speaks almost perfect English. Breeding Kohaku, Sanke and Showa. The brothers are very involved with the entire industry in Japan and are featured in most magazines every month. The company employs around 10 people with an army of trucks which are always seen buzzing around the area. The company is run very different to most Niigata breeders, they are very modern in their business ways, slowly turning into a huge cooperate giant in todays koi world.
Hirasawa Marusei Koi Farm
One of the biggest koi breeders in the world, water space maybe the biggest. With over 300 mudponds and only 4 staff members including his 2 sons and 1 daughter in law, its a very busy place to visit. Hirasawa San breeds virtually all varieties, in all grades. It really is a one stop koi shop. He has 2 year old low class Beni Goi from £5.00 and he has 6 year old extremely High class Beni Goi for the price of a nice car! In most varieties this is the case.
I have been lucky enough to see his very best koi, not many people have seen them, he dosent really care if he sells them, the mass production to the wholesalers and dealers means he can enjoy his tategoi on his own without the stress of having to sell them, and looking in a pond of over 50 koi, all over 80cms in all varieties is an awesome experience. Unless you have seen the place, its hard to explain. He has stunning examples of all koi, and if they are not there he will go and bring one to you. He has produced over the years the best Hi Utsuri, Chagoi, Ki-Goi, Asagi, Aka/Ki Matsuba in the world and also include some Go-Sanke which have won Grand Champions all over the world. At the time of writing he has over 6 Koi Facilities and more in the planning, the space he needs is huge, shipping koi for 9 months a year in huge numbers, hundreds and hundreds of boxes per week. At Harvest time they start work at 3am, and they finish at 9pm. I was asking Hirsawa’s son about the operation, I asked how many mudponds they harvest in a day, he replied “When the truck is full, we come home”. With the biggest mudpond being 16hectres in size, and they have to use boats to drag the net, its a unbelievable operation. Unless looking for a specific koi, Marusei Koi farm is mostly a trade outlet, but still worth a look!
The knowledge you can learn from these guys is great, being one of the most respected and friendly koi breeders there is. He decided many years ago upon talking to his two sons the direction they wanted to take, they agreed to go for this huge scale operation, and thats what they have built.
Hiroi Seiji – Kokugyokan
Hiroi – Seiji is said to have the very best eye for Tategoi in the world. He is mainly a dealer but does breed some superb Kohaku from a Murata bloodline.
Other breeders in the area are always aware when Hiroi San drops in to have a look at the new tosai, or the Nissai they have, Buying their best koi and then growing them in huge mudponds in the Yamakoshi area. Many famous koi have come from Hiroi-Seiji over the years, ranging from big show winners to special odd ball koi, such as a 95cm Shiro Utsuri which should have won the Nogyosai a few years ago, his eye is amazing. At his facility he has 2 large ponds, 1 for koi up to 3 years old, then in the main pond, the jumbo koi are on show. Many varieties , and mostly all excellent specimens. His own bred Kohaku and some Showa have really come on well, sizes to rival any other breeder in the world at Tosai and Nissai, I have seen one of his Nissai at 65cms which is incredible.
Hiroi San is very famous around the Niigata area, and is always on hand to help with harvesting of some of the major koi hobbyists in Japan’s koi. When his koi are harvested its always a huge party of other breeders there, ready to see the koi he has bought for them to come out, most of them get very upset!
Marudo Koi Farm
Marudo was another Dainichi student when he started his koi career, He was one of the first before returning to Utogi where his father was a koi breeder. Marudo was also a great believer in the jumbo body shape, which Mano of Dainichi made very famous, the huge body shapes were the koi to have, they won all the shows, the huge hump behind the back, the massive cheeks. Marudo used Dainichi parents for his Kohaku, he tried to change the beni depth, it was very deep, very thick…very red!
To this day his Beni quality is superb. Over the years he has added Sanke and Showa with similar styles of beni, still very Dainichi, he has stuck to a formula which is a winning one. Now having 4 koi houses around Yamakoshi, breeding Yamabuki, Asagi, Shusui, Purachina, Ki-goi, Beni Goi, Shiro Utsuri, Chagoi and many more varieties planned. The place is always packed out by foreign customers, an appointment is nearly always needed to make sure he is at the house you need him to be at.
Very serious koi, I remember after the Earthquake, he lost most of his female parent koi, I saw him the January after the disaster and he had just received 4 koi that he bred but sold 3 years before, 2 kohakus, 1 Showa and 1 Sanke…all over 90cms, it was a sight for sore eyes, but proof of the pedigree of his koi.
Isa is probably best known for breeding some extremely nice Showa. He did however start by producing Kohaku many years ago. He now however mainly produces showa, and he breeds some exceptional Showa. He has won many top awards of the years with his Showa, and has exported his koi all over the world. His father before him was a Koi Breeder and now his son is starting to take over the company and make a few changes, which have already been noticed. They have a fantastic Koi house in Ojiya where they keep all their 3 years and over koi, some koi not far away from the magic meter either. Then they have a Tosai/Nissai houses again in Ojiya which consist of 2 large houses, the public normally go to the 3 years and over house, as they do grow on alot of 2 year olds. Body shapes and size are also great at Isa, they do have some of the best Showa in the world.Now breeding Showa, Kohaku and Sanke, all of a very high standard, its a peoples favourite, a pure experience when walking into a koi house wall to wall with amazing Showa, its a great sight.
Izumiya is the ‘boss’ of the Yamakoshi mountains, a real force in koi past and present. The effort that he puts into the industry is incredible, he is the Shinkokai President, which stages the biggest and best koi show in the world, The All Japan Koi Show, held in Jan/Feb in Tokyo each year.
His facility in Yamakoshi is said to be the first ever retail outlet in the Yamakoshi area, a true professional in the koi world. He breeds the very best Yamabuki Ogon in the entire world, they are truly wonderful, available to buy from 2 years old up to all ages and all sizes, you will see many koi at the facility well approaching 1meter. He also breeds some very nice Kohaku and Sanke, Having bred a Kohaku that won Grand Champion at the Nogyosai in recent times. A very big facility with very big koi. Mano San is always involved with day to day running of the company along with his son who is also becoming very similar to his father. Mano San had a very bad time during the Earthquake of 04,l with many of the disaster pictures being of his koi. The building is still slightly slanted, and you can see the water level sloping to one side when you go in there, giving a very strange feeling as you walk around, Im happy to report he is back at full power and doing what he does best.
Tsuyoshi Kawakami has always bred some spectacular koi over the years, and many famous koi aswell. His main breeding is Sanke, you can always tell the Torazo koi from the Sumi on his Sankes, always deep and well placed, making the big examples very impressive.Also breeding superb Kohaku and Showa, for Go-Sanke fans its a must visit. Located at the bottom of the mountain in Urakawa, its the first stop on many peoples travels to the Yamakoshi mountains. Not having huge numbers of koi, but having good koi.In 2007 Torazo took Grand Champion at the Nogyosai Koi show in Ojiya City with a stunning 82cm Sanke, which was only 6 years old, Showing what Tsuyoshi is aiming to do in the future. Torazo wil keep going from strength to strength in the coming years, His koi are excellent.
Yamamatsu Koi Farm.
Toshiyuki Sakai is Toshio Sakai’s elder brother. Toshio moved to Isawa when he was very young because he knew that his elder brother would get the house and business when their father passed it down, In Japan this is always the case.Toshiyuki always used his father’s Matsunosuke bloodline, and himself changed it for the better to produce some of the best koi in the world, in the late 70′s and 80′s and early 90′s all you could see outside his facility was Mercedes, Rolls Royces…etc etc, Hobbyists at the time including prominent breeders of today included Sakai Hiroshima, Momotaro…all trying to buy the best stocks from Toshiyuki, the business name being ‘Yamamatsu’ many people making the mistake of calling Yamamatsu Matsunosuke, which these days is frowned upon, Even though he uses Matsunosuke bloodline, he has tailored it to his own preferences, There are now massive differences between Yamamatsu koi and his brother Toshio’s koi. They are totally different. He alone is one of the worlds top breeders, anyone who has seen his best koi will know this.Along with his son Toshiaki, The company over the last few years has blossomed, the change has also been huge since the Earthquake, there has been a total change in the koi produced at Yamamatsu, with bigger mudponds and more of them, with help from the Japanese government, he has more room and breeding more fish, the growth pattern has changed so much, now breeding 2 year old koi which are exceeding 60cms in size with excellent bodies, and quality which is second to none. The main market in recent times from Yamamatsu is Asia on the whole, His best clien Yamamatsu is one of the best koi breeders in the world, Many koi breeders change from year to year in quality, but with Yamamatsu you know when the koi are harvested, what you are about to see, he is so consistent in his breeding, the envy of many Niigata breeders.ts coming from Hong Kong, also a few of his best coming back to the UK.