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.

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