Fitz and the Fitz’s Fish Ponds Team traveled back to Japan from Oct. 16 to Nov. 16, 2022 for the fall harvest. It was an amazing experience for the team to go back into the mountains without the Covid restrictions. Although there was added intimacy in getting individual attention with the breeders during the Covid pandemic, it was great to see the mountains buzzing again with enthusiasts.
We had 15 customers make the journey from the U.S. all the way to Japan; for 12 of them, it was their first trip. Our delegation included Tom Smith from Garden State Koi; Greg Wittstock, Brian Helfrich and Ed “The Pond Professor” Beaulieu from Aquascape; Jaak Harju from Atlantis Water Gardens; John Adams from Modern Design Aquascaping; Ralph Bizard from Pondscapes, AZ; and Diego Asturias from Fontana Water Features.
We visited more than 20 breeders, each specializing in a different breed of koi, and harvested six mud ponds. Among the breeders we visited were Shintaro, Marudo, Hiroseji, Ikarashi, Sekiguchi, Marusei, Maruhiro, Marusho, Yamasan, Hiroi, Koda, Kase, Shinoda, Marusada, Iwashita, Torazo and Hirashin.
Not only did the team and our customers have a great time in the mud ponds and visiting some of the largest koi facilities in the word, but we also had a great time experiencing all Japan has to offer with their great restaurants, steak houses and, of course, fantastic sushi.
During the trip, we sold and sourced some of the nicest koi in the entire world for our customers. Some customers took advantage of Azukari while in Japan. This translates to “under custody” or “under supervision.” These customers bought koi that will be left in the care of the breeder or dealer in Japan. They will be able to go back in the future to harvest the koi they bought and see how much it grows. We sourced both smaller and larger koi — one in particular was 105 cm. That koi actually won the award for jumbo koi at the Nogyosai Koi Show.
After staying in Japan for approximately a month, the paperwork now begins to ensure all koi that are bought and sold are documented. Back at the FFP Farm, this means we need to start prepping for the next shipment to come in. The koi bought on this trip will be available to reserve on our website within the next few weeks. Shipments are scheduled in January and early February 2023. They will then be quarantined until they are ready to go. At FFP we have our own greenhouse dedicated to quarantining fish from a new shipment so the koi can be monitored and well rested.
FFP is excited to share that KoiTrips is back up and running in full swing. Now that Japan has opened its borders, we are looking forward to helping more customers travel with us. If you are interested in joining us in the future, be sure to contact us or visit the website, www.koitrips.com.