Our koi expert Pam Spindola details koi varieties in other issues of WGI Online. Each will open in a new window for easy reference.
Introduction | Sanke | Showa | Utsurimono

Koi Hunting and Achieving a Dream, Pam Spindola Makes
A Journey of the Spirit to Japan
Page 5

Text and images by Pam Spindola
Click images to enlarge

Marusaka's gin rin chagoi
The last koi breeder we visit is Marusaka (Teruo Hiroi) who breeds not only gosanke and the traditional varieties but has the more unusual koi specimens. The day we visited everyone was admiring his gin rin chagoi or tea colored ogon. The diamond scale sparkled in the setting sun! Also on display were examples of midori or green koi. At this stage, they appear more yellow than green. This farm is one of only a few that raises this rare variety.

Marusaka Koi Farm    

< Outdoor ponds | Midori ^

All varieties of koi

As an added attraction, the breeder took us across the street to the stables which housed the famous fighting bulls. Mr. Hiroi believes in preserving the tradition and culture that was a part of Japan over 1,000 years ago. Bullfighting, called “Tsunotsuki”, is similar to sumo wrestling. Two bulls that weigh up to one ton fight each other to determine which is more skillful and strong. I believe they fight for less than five minutes and neither is hurt. After viewing the bulls, we call it a day. Tired and exhilarated at the wonderful day we have spent, we return to the hotel for dinner and relaxation. This koi hunting is hard work! 

Marusaka fighting bulls
and Mr. Hiroi

Eat to be strong

Fighting bulls


Thursday morning we have a traditional breakfast at the hotel. Fortunately Kaz joins us to explain all the delicacies and how to eat them. On the artistically arranged platters are several varieties of fish as well as pickled vegetables and fermented beans and rice. Of course, miso and hot green tea are also served.

< Breakfast at Sun Rolla


Afterwards, we board the bus to travel 50 minutes to the west coast of Japan to visit a very famous gin rin kohaku breeder, Mr. Kiichi Hoshino of Teradomari Koi Farm. His brood stock is from the famous Hoshikin female kohaku and a gin rin male from the Suda Koi Farm. The Teradomari koi has a wonderful body shape and its gin (diamond scales) are said to be long lasting and will not fade as is customary with koi over 2 feet (61 cm) in length.

< Mr. Kiichi Hoshino of Teradomari

I was so impressed that the gin scales were so even and symmetrical and continued all the way up to the dorsal fin. Often there are blank spots and the scale is not reflective. Visiting Teradomari was like visiting a “jewelry store”! I couldn’t resist and now have one of the “living jewels” from this koi breeder in my pond! 

Teradomari's gin rin kohaku    

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