1983. Hirashin Koi farm – Kitayama village.
This outlet is only around one mile from Hosokai and is on the left hand side of the main road which borders his farm. When I made this first visit the outlet was run by the late father of Yoshiaki who now owns the outlet today.
The father had a completely different personality to others I had met for the first time. He was stocky in frame and completely outgoing towards me. It was around 11.00am when I arrived with Naoji Takanashi but he was already into several cans of beer and empty cans were abandoned on his small desk.
There were several octagonal-shaped, above-ground concrete ponds near his home around 10 metres across but these were all empty. Next to the house he had a series of very long concrete ponds divided by a 6″ concrete wall where one had to balance correctly or get wet.
It was the actual Koi in these ponds that staggered me as they were ‘a dream’ for students of Koi varieties to behold and classify right there before them. Since then I have never seen such a wide range of Koi varieties at just one outlet. These Koi were between sansai and larger sizes and there were hundreds upon hundreds on display.
That day I spent far more than I could ever have expected and by 3.30pm as light started to fade, I was still balancing along thin walls with a Koi net to aid my balance. Naoji, in the meantime, was taking Polaroid pictures of my purchases and logging size and price details for me. I cannot ever recall selecting more Koi from any other breeder in one single visit and insisted upon returning early the following morning to continue!
‘Pay-Dirt’ at last!
On those very two visits I purchased (from memory) – Beni Kumonryu; Aka Matsuba Ogon; Platinum Kohaku; Ochibashigure; Sumigoromo; Midorigoi; Aka Bekko; Shiro Bekko; Kigoi; Doitsu Yamabuki Hariwake; Hi Ogon; Sakura Ogon as well as several excellent Go-Sanke.
When I returned these Koi to Infiltration, people from all parts of the UK came to see and buy these Koi, only a very few of these varieties had ever been seen in the UK before.
I returned again and again to Hirashin on subsequent trips never, ever to find a selection to compare with that on my first visit.
My first impression was ‘An Aladdin’s Cave’!