Nov 13 2009
Japan 2009: Niigata – Agritourism and Koi Kichi
I’m in Japan again to continue learning about the Japanese Koi industry. I’m currently in Niigata, generally considered to be the birthplace of Nishikigoi (koi) keeping and production. What began as rice framers rearing carp as an additional food source in small rural villages has evolved into a major industry that rivals rice production and brings hobbyists and dealers from all over the world to this mountainous area of Japan. This is now an industry that really caters to the international markets. I’ve read that 80% of the koi produced in this area are exported out of Japan. Further a thriving sub-industry has developed catering to the international koi dealers and their customers, the koi Kichi (Koi crazy), that travel to this area every year to view and purchase nishikigoi, a unique example of agritourism. Below are a few images that illustrate the extent to which nishikigoi have become part of the landscape here in Ojiya city and the surrounding countryside especially as the local breeders and the small communities have developed an infrastructure to cater to the visiting koi kichi.