Discover the Top Koi Ponds at 5 of Japan's Best Breeders: A Visual Tour of 10 Stunning Videos

The title basically tells you all you need to know about this blog.  Before we get into the videos of some mega ponds I saw on my recent trip to Niigata, Japan, I share briefly my own thoughts about how to look at these ponds.

When you look at these videos, I ask you to look at them through the eyes of a breeder.  These are the breeders' showing off their efforts for others to enjoy.  Some koi in these ponds may be sales koi, others not, others already sold. In some cases, there may be brood stock.  Overall we are looking at the artistry of these breeders.  I stood by these ponds and the huge amount of work, resources and time that are required to produce these works of art passed through my mind and was overwhelming.

Ok, so lets get into the ponds!

I'll start with Kanno, because we actually purchased a koi from one of his top ponds to breed from this year.

Here's his Sansai / Yonsai pond.  Prices start from quite a high level, and I took some time to consider the purchase overnight before coming back the next day to secure a female to bring back to Byer Koi Farm.  The Yamabuki were unexpected, and amazing!  Bred off Momotaro I understand.

And, his Yonsai pond:

Stunning Goshiki!

Moving on to Shinoda, who is world famous for Hi Utsuri.  They were sold out of all nisai and sansai , but still had some tosai available.  We didn't buy anything here but took some time to take in his pond of massive Hi Utsuri's; known to house the 1m Hi Utsuri !

Yagengi has two koi houses in Mushigame, which is the village reputed to be where koi started right back who know's when!  One of the koi houses is at the bottom of the hill, and the other at the top.  The one at the bottom contains a show pond which they have adorned with a bench to sit on perfectly positioned to admire the large pond of exquisite examples from the wide range of varieties they breed.  I remember it well from my 2015 trip (summary of that trip here:, and it did not disappoint in 2023!

Sekiguchi has expanded a lot since I was last there in 2015.  There used to be 2 fish polytunnels, and now there's double that. One of the 'new' tunnels houses just 2 large ponds; one with his largest sales koi and some brood fish, and the other with some impressive looking koi that were not for sale, so I assume tategoi.  

Here's the pond with the largest koi, and some of these were comfortably 1m+

 And here's the other pond, with what would normally be described as large koi!

Finally, I took 4 videos at Dianichi's main fish house.  Which is better described as a warehouse sized fish house!

The first pond on the left after you walk in has their really big stuff.  So difficult to judge the sizes but fairly safe to say the larger ones are 1m+  .  Back in 2015, one of the kohaku's in that same pond went on to win the AJKS a year or two later!  And I could well believe there are some future AJKS winner contenders in there again from what I saw this year.

That pond is the mos tricky to observe because the surface is rough, almost choppy because of all the water movement.  If you watch the video, there are moments where it's possible to see better through the surface layer:

The other ponds in the fish house had smoother surfaces and easier to see.  And, some also have very large koi in them too!  Enjoy ...



As impressive as this Dianichi fish house is, I actually preferred the other breeders ponds listed above and particularly the ones where we engaged with the breeders themselves.  Dianichi will be one for another time.  We're going to need a new female kohaku in the next few years and this would be a natural place to look for one.  I'm told Dianichi are tricky to buy from, but if we can get some traction then this could be an interesting place for us to explore options.

By the way, the title picture of this blog is taken just outside of Dianichi. There are vending machines throughout the area we visited, and this one is brilliant, because it branded up with koi :-)

A selfie of myself, standing in front of a vending machine which is painted with pictures of koi.