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 9

Text and images by Pam Spindola
Click images to enlarge

Back to our koi hunt, our next visit was to one of the oldest koi breeding families in the area known as Torazo. It is run by Tsuyoshi Kawakami and his wife, but the business was started by his great grandfather in 1917. Known for the “famous sanke bloodline ‘Torazo’” they are now producing kohaku and showa as well. On his website, he mentions how they are constantly trying to improve the quality and that production percentages are currently 50% kohaku, 30% showa, and only 20% sanke. In the early 20th century, drawings of the early koi were done by the Kawakami family. This was to keep track of the parent koi and the breeding stock. It was noted how difficult it was to draw these koi because they don’t stay still!


Image courtesy of torazokoi.com 



Holding tank with
kohaku and sanke


More kohaku and sanke

It is the end of the day on Friday and several in the group want to revisit some of the breeders. Our last stop for the day is a return visit to the Marudo Koi Farm which continues to be very busy with customers. The koi were very beautiful and some of us make our selections. I decide on a beautiful four step kohaku which will stay in Japan one more season for growth. I have never done this before and hope the koi stays safe from predators. It was already nightfall by the time all the business transactions were completed.

I have purchased three lovely koi during our three days and am so happy with my selections. However, we have one more day to look as some of the other group members are still not done shopping.  

Isa Koi Farm
Saturday morning starts with a return visit to Isa Koi Farm. It is less hectic as most of the koi from the mudponds have been brought in to the concrete ponds. Some members in the group make their selection.


Kaz , Mr. Isa and hobbyists having one last look


The next farm on our list is Hiroi Koi Farm established 85 years ago. Mr. Kuniyasu Hiroi runs the establishment with his wife and two sons. This establishment is also known as “Yozen”, an ancestral name. Although known for excellent showa, they produce many other examples of nishikigoi.  
The staff was very busy bringing in the koi from the mudponds and placing them into the many tanks both inside and outside of the koi hothouse. 

Unloading the koi

Hiroi Koi Farm

Doitsu or
scaleless showa

Hiroi house
We were very impressed with the gin rin goshiki. The conformation of the koi was ideal. The goshiki pattern was so well defined. The diamond scales were so shiny and placed very symmetrically in even rows all the way to the dorsal! These koi are so beautiful!  

Gin rin goshiki from
Hiroi Koi Farm


Gin rin kohaku

Gin rin goshiki

< Back | Next >
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5
Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8 | Page 9 | Page 10

WGI ONLINE Journal Table of Contents

Water Gardeners International
Home | Join WGI | Members' Exclusive | Gateway to Water Gardening