We arrived in Tokyo yesterday evening and caught the Shinkansen straight to Nagaoka in Niigata, prior to moving on to Ojiya.

After we checked in and had a quick shower, we shot off to the nearest pub to meet some old friends. We find that a few beers helps us get over jet lag - (That’s our excuse anyway!). When we returned to our hotel we quickly unpacked before retiring to bed around 4am.

I made the traditional 7am hotel Japanese breakfast of fish, salad, miso soup and rice and then we were off to the mountains - koi hunting. We generally spend the first day visiting as many breeders as possible - This includes a quick hello, chat and most importantly finding out their harvest schedule. The majority of the day was spent doing exactly this, with only a couple of exceptions.

As we arrived at one of our favourite breeders ~ Nagashima, he was just starting to unload a nisai harvest - We didn’t waste the opportunity and purchased some stunning jumbo nisai tategoi Sanke and Showa. Nagashima uses the famous Momotaro jumbo bloodline female with his own bloodline males in his spawning. This results in koi with a deep beni (red) and Ebony sumi (black) . Nagashima Koi finish surprisingly quick in the UK and often look totally different when our customers collect their koi in the spring.

The daylight started to fade at around 4pm. A total of 27 farms, 3 small events, 50 plus koi houses and a lot of ponds had been inspected and logged in our memory. We made our way back via the ramen restaurant happy with our first day.

Tomorrow we go again -this time with a plan and harvest appointments