Marusei Koi farm, also known as ‘Hirasawa’ which is the family surname.
Seitaro Hirasawa is the ‘boss’ and Father
Yoshiuki Hirasawa is the eldest son
Marusei Koi Farm was started by Seitaro Hirasawa in 1960. This is the largest Koi farm in the Niigata area, boasting 6 Koi outlets and over 300 mudponds and still building more!
This is believed to have come about over 20 years ago when the father asked his 2 sons what direction they would like the business to take. They all agreed on trying to become one of the biggest breeders in the world being able to supply everyone with the Koi they need. They succeeded.
The harvest schedule is gruelling, and I mean REALLY gruelling. Between the 2 sons and the father, they have one other full time staff member and one of the sons wives.
To produce the amount of fish that this farm produces is a 365 day a year full time job. There is no time off, hardly any days off. From breeding, to growing and then harvesting it really is crazy!
Lets just have a quick look at the Koi this farm produces:-
Hi Utsuri /Gin-rin
Kin Ki Utsuri
Kin Hi Utsuri
For his Sanke he uses Matsunosuke female and his own male
Kohaku is all Sensuke.
All other varieties are now all from his own lines.
Now imagine the amount of fry ponds needed just to breed these varieties, the work that must go in with such a small work force is incredible.
Now Marusei Koi farm is pretty much ‘trade only’ this is because of the sheer bulk of fish they produce, from Nisai onwards they have all sizes, all grades in all varieties. It truly is a ‘one stop shop’.
Now don’t be led to believe that he only deals in wholesale Koi. Hirasawa San(Seitaro) has his very own personal collection of Koi. You know they are his as when you ask a price he simply replies ‘My tategoi’ and gives a smile. Koi that he has produced over the years are good enough to compete at ANY Koi show in the world and win Grand Champion in every one of them. He has that kind of quality from Nisai to Koi well over 90cms.
His parent Hi Utsuri are over 94cms produce arguably the very best Hi Utsuri in the world. The same can and should be said about his Chagoi, they are the very best Chagoi money can buy. Its a strange feeling when you are looking at Chagoi which are true Tategoi, the quality on some of them is just breath taking.
The size of the Chagoi are also awesome. If you ever need a perfect Chagoi, Hi Utsuri, Ki-goi and others over 1M, then go and see this farm.
If there is any Koi at any size you are looking for, then he is always worth a visit.
In the peak season I would say up to 1000 Cartons of fish leave Marusei Koi farm each week. These Koi will end up all over the planet, to every county you can imagine that imports Koi. The range he has must be seen. Koi can be bought from £1.00 to £100,000!
Marusei Koi farm were based in Utogi, just before or after the Utogi Tunnel. He had already bought an empty warehouse in Kawaguchi, 3 miles from the Utogi facility. This was being built and finished as the Earthquake hit in 2004. He was lucky to be able to move all the Koi from the Utogi facility to Kawaguchi which was pretty much perfect. The new facility is by far the biggest Koi house in Niigata. The Utogi house has been repaired now , it still has some Koi on the site but they now use it mainly when they are breeding Koi and culling fry. In October/November they do have some very special Koi housed there but its rare to catch anyone there. I have my own key!
If you ever get lucky enough Hirasawa San may take you to see his jumbo Koi which are always hidden out of the way. It really is good to be able to see 20 Koi all over 80cms, all spectacular. Hirasawa the father is rumoured to be the 6th wealthiest man in the entire Niigata prefecture.
Q: How many mudponds does the Koi Farm actually have?
A: I don’t know exactly, over 300 and building more every year.
Q: How many harvests will you do each day?
A: When the truck is full, we come back, then go out again. It can be up to 7 ponds per day.
Q: What size is the biggest mudpond?
A: 16 hectares.
Q: What size Koi do you put in.
A: Only Koi over 70cms. They easily reach 1M.
Q: How on earth do you harvest this pond?
A: It is very difficult. We feed the same area so most of the Koi stay in that area of the pond. We then go in with 2 boats and then drop a net and drag it to the edge. We do this about 4 times and get as many Koi out as possible.
Q: So some Koi stay in the pond all year?
A: Yes they do. Sometimes even we are surprised to see what comes out (laughs)
Q: How many fry ponds do you have?
A: We have 125 ponds just for growing our fry.
Q: What are your working hours.
A: Most days we start at 5am and finish at 10pm.
Q: what % of your business is export?
A: almost all of it. Most dealers and wholesalers who visit the Niigata area will buy Koi from here. We export all over the world.