Wednesday, 17 February 2016


It started out with pretty heavy snow this morning and it just kept going all day. We had a few messages to do this morning including Rene submitting export papers, buying tosai at Torazo and calling at the wholesalers. We took time also to look in at one of Marudo's facilities.

By the time we reached Yamazaki he was busy so we had to postpone our visit there. We took the opportunity to do some shopping before lunch then headed up to see Kaneko again. Shane had a Showa he wanted to see again. Here are some pics from Kaneko.

I selected 2 bowls of koi:

We had a cup of coffee with Kaneko san and it was a great opportunity to ask a few questions.

We spent a fair bit of time at Matsunosuke too. You can see by the photos how much the snow was building up.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016


Today we started out with a visit to Hirasawa (Marusei) to try and sort out a few special orders. We lifted some sansai chagoi, ogons and a kigoi. (3yrs, approx. 60-63cm).

Also some beautiful koi for a special order. There are so many amazing fish to choose from.

Next we drove up to Shinoda, but he is mostly sold out so we didn't buy there this year. It was a good chance to see the bullring with the snow being light this year. The view at Shinoda is worth seeing too!

After a visit to Izumiya and Matsunosuke we spent some time enjoying the koi at Kazuto.

The next place to lift some fish was Miyatora. As usual his fish were well marked, strong colours and good body shape. Here are the fish selected at Miyatora, first 45cm nisai, then 50cm.

A few pictures were taken while up in Mushigame - what a beautiful part of the world!

Finally we spent some time at Kaneko. Here Shane is getting stuck in to netting and selection.

Monday, 15 February 2016


It's been a long day!
This morning we made our way up to Hosokai. When we left Ojiya this morning it had started snowing and by the time we got up to Hosokai it was really getting quite heavy. However, it was good to renew acquaintance and see the fish again. We were able to check out the tosai and sort out a special order.

 We have several special requests to seek out so some time was spent bowling up and taking pictures of koi for this purpose. We then went to the main koi house to select some fish for the shop. Here are a selection of the Hosoaki koi. They are all nisai (2 years). The smaller ones are about 35cm and most are around 43-48cm.

 After spending the whole morning with Hosokai it was time for lunch. A good bowl of ramen soup keeps the tank well filled and we were ready for a journey out to Koda. He has a nicely run set up with some good fish. We had tried the Koda koi for the first time last year and so were ready to buy some nisai this year. Here are 2 bowls of nisai, mostly around 35cm.

Another new farm for me was next - Murata Koi Farm. He has very high quality kohaku and has been very successful in recent years at the koi shows. Again we were looking for special orders - this one is a cracking 2yr old kohaku and already about 60cm!

It's amazing how quickly the day passes when you're going from farm to farm, but we had time for one more - Tanaka Sutoshi. I was taken with his Asagi & Beni Kumonryu in particular. Here are some we bought at Tanaka.

To finish the day off (apart from doing all the paper work, facebook and this blog) we went out for dinner with Hosokai.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Sunday 14th Feb. 2016

It was an early start on Saturday morning, leaving Portrush at 2.30am, but the roads were clear and it was plain sailing, getting parked and transferred to the airport in Dublin. It was very busy with a big school ski trip just in front of me, many supporters going to see Ireland v France in rugby, and the school holidays all having an effect.

So, Dublin to Amsterdam went well, transfer in Amsterdam went smoothly and the flight to Tokyo also - just as planned.

We had a slight hiccup when we realised my customer was at a different terminal from the one we always land at with KLM, but we soon sorted that out. With our Japan Rail 5 day pass we took the Narita Express into Tokyo and then Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagaoka.

From Nagaoka we called in with Matsunosuke farm and also Dainichi. So no, having had dinner it's definitely time for bed. Will be back on air tomorrow. Planning to be with Hosokai in the morning and a few others in the afternoon.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Japan Trip 2016

Wed. 10th February.
Well, not long now until we're off on the 2016 buying trip to Niigata prefecture in Japan. From Sunday morning (in the UK) we should hopefully be posting here about the trip, with pics of fish appearing from Monday morning. Tag this page and keep an eye on it every day. The buying part only lasts 4 days!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Preparing for Japan

The flights have been booked since mid-November. A space has been reserved for my car in the carpark at Dublin airport. Hotels are booked and seats reserved for the tour in Tokyo.
Having decided to miss out on the Japan trip in 2015, I am more excited than usual for this one to come round. We have a few special orders to pick up this year and that always makes it interesting.
The only thing causing a little anxiety is the way sterling is performing against the yen. Having slid from 187 to 167 yen to the £ in the last month means everything will be 12% more expensive! Let's hope there's a bit of an improvement in the next month!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Japan Trip 2014.

Here you can see pictures of the koi currently being purchased in Japan for the 2014 season. Follow the trip here or get the feed on facebook by adding "causewaykoi". You can contact us if there's anything special you would like brought home

Saturday 22nd February
The trip is just about over! (Scroll to the bottom and work your way back up for the full trip) Most of today we will be travelling from Tokyo to home. It has been another very successful and enjoyable buying trip. The koi should be following us in about 3 weeks time and then will be quarantined for about 4 weeks before going on sale at Easter.

Friday 21st February
This morning we started by making our way over to the famous Hama-Rikyu gardens which had been the family garden of the Tokugawa Shogun. These are very beautiful gardens with much to see and learn.

In the Nakajima-no-ochaya (tea house) we had traditional green tea and Japanese confectionery.

Next we had a walk through the amazing grounds of the Zojoji Temple before visiting the Tokyo Tower before lunch.

After lunch we took a City Tour by bus through many of the main tourist attractions and learning much of the city's history. We stopped at Asakusa at the Sesoji Temple and Nakamise Street.

The main attraction of the trip was the new Tokyo Tower, the Skytree. With its main observatory deck at 350m, you have a fantastic view of the city of Tokyo.

Returning from the tour we had a quick turn around at the hotel before heading out to Roppongi for a very special dinner - Teppanyaki at the Grand Hyatt.

Thursday 20th February
Being the last day, and with no more fish to buy, we visited the Koi Museum, Nishikigoi-no-sato this morning. Also the Sun Plaza where they make and sell local produce - textiles, food & koi products.

After a good coffee in Starbucks at the station in Nagaoka we bid farewell to Rene for another year and made our way back to Tokyo on the shinkansen. All good things come to an end, but now it is time for us to become tourists!

This afternoon we visited Akihabara, the electric village, including a tour around the Big Apple Pachinko halls and a visit to the awesome Yodobashi Camera electrical products store. We also went over to Kanda to have a look around the Kanda Myogin shrine before returning to Akihabara for dinner. Steak and chips for me tonight!

Wednesday 19th February
We had a bit of business to do at Hosokai this morning so we went there first. Here you can see Masaru netting up a fine aka matsuba and the next picture gives you some idea of the size of the fish.

Here are a couple of fine 57cm Sanke.

This is a 40cm Tancho sanke from Hosokai.

Another visit to Izumiya followed so I could take pictures of a Tancho Sanke for a customer. Here are some pics from Izumiya.

After a fine feed of pork and rice in the mountains we made our way on up to Kanno to see his beautiful goshiki and go-sanke. There is so much snow up in Mushigame! I bought tosai there.

Next we went back to Marusei to pick up some smaller nissai having called at Kawakami only to find him sold out. These are the fish bought at Marusei. The first picture is with 33-42cm koi. The fish in the second pictures are 28-34cm.

We finished the day with a visit to Dainichi followed by coffee and cake. The visit to the mountains is almost over!

Had a super dinner tonight in the restaurant just opposite our hotel. This chicken was amazing!

Tuesday 18th February
Off to the hills early this morning with so much to see and do. Our first stop was the huge Marusei fish house. Have a look at some of the lovely fish I picked up at Marusei. They are approx 38-45cm.

After visiting Miyatora we stopped in at Choguru to secure tosai Purachina. The quality of Choguru's Purachina proved too irresistible and we have this happy picture to show as a result. A cracking 4yr old Ogon.

While waiting for Yamazaki san to come I took this nice scenery pic. There is plenty of snow!

Of course there is more to see than snow and mountains! Here are some of the Yamazaki koi. A big variation, from about 30-48cm.

We visited many other farms today including the amazing farms of Torazo and Izumiya. A few very nice koi were purchased at Aoki, including these which are available for sale.

We finished the day at Marusaka before returning to the hotel to tidy up business, freshen up and get ready for dinner. Tonight we went out to a fish restaurant with the Hosokai brothers. What an amazing feed - though there were a few things I ate tonight that I just didn't ask many questions about!

Monday 17th February
The road up to Yamakoshi was full of snow this morning but we made our way up the twists and turns to reach the birthplace of Nishikigoi.

There is always plenty to enjoy at Kazuto Ikarashi. As always, the koi were stunning. We bought a very nice Tancho here and a good selection of high quality year old fish

We visited Sakai Matsunosuke and bought tosai at Yagengi. After noodle soup for lunch we went back up to Hosokai. It usually takes quite a while to do the Hosokai visit and today there was good reason with the purchase of some very nice koi.

We did visit a few other farms, but the last picture for today is of some Doitsu Go-sanke and a gin-rin Showa purchased at Shinoda.

Sunday 16th February
The weather delayed our flight out of Dublin which left us having to sprint through Charles De Gaul airport in Paris. Although we made it to the plane on time, unfortunately our suitcases didn't.
Having sorted that out, we came out to find that the weather in Japan has been causing havoc and we were unable to book the shinkansen at the airport. The queues in Tokyo station were very long, but eventually we got our tickets and caught the bullet train up to Nagaoka.
We have since learned that the Expressway is closed due to the heavy snow. Our suitcases will be sent to the hotel in Tokyo so it means working without all the usual equipment while here in Ojiya. I apologise now for the quality of the photos as I don't have my good camera with the polarising lens.