Torazo Koi farm is one of the longest running Koi outlets in Japan.
Today the farm is run by Tsuyoshi Kawakami who is a fantastic guy. The farm is situated in Uragara and in an ideal spot because all Koi hunters must drive past the farm along with the HUGE blue sign advertising the farm, ‘Torazo…1917’
. Torazo Koi are really good. He has the full range from cheaper Koi all the way up to Grand Champions, if you cant find a Koi you like there then there is something wrong! People hunting for high class 2 year olds then October is the time to visit Torazo, he has some superb Koi. You must be fast though, It was only last year I enquired about the price of a 3 year old Kohaku and a 2 year old sanke, after my customer had said yes not 8 hours later…both Koi had been sold!
Tsuyoshi can also speak very good English so first timers to Japan can get alot of information from the guy. He enjoys speaking in English so its never a bad time to have a chat with him.
Torazo Koi farm was started in 1917 by Tsuyoshi’s great grandfather Chuzo Kawakami. The name Torazo came from Chuzo’s grandfather who was named Torazo, this is now the name of the Sanke bloodline they produce, which is one of the best Sanke bloodlines there is. Other bloodlines have been taken from this line such as Jinbei so its a very respected bloodline.
Tsuyoshi’s Father took over the farm in 1950, He died in 2004 which was a massive loss to the Koi industry when it happened, the man was one of the very best Koi breeders in the world. Now Tsuyoshi has taken over and over the last 10 years has very much brought Torazo Koi Farm into the 21st Century.
Torazo Koi Farm now exports all over the world, a massive Market in America and a massive market in Europe. Many Champion Koi have been sold by Torazo Koi Farm the most recent major award winner was a 6 year old Sanke that took Grand Champion at the Nougyousai in 2007. A stunning Sanke. The Sanke grew 10cms every year for 3 years! This is excellent growth. I remember seeing the Koi taking a price at the same show 2 years previous.
In the Chuetsu Earthquake of 2004 Torazo Koi Farm escaped a very big disaster. It is believed that the epicentre of the earthquake was directly below Torazo’s. The miracle was that the farm suffered very little damage. Two buildings down at Suzuki was totally demolished along with many others in the immediate vicinity. The entire village was over a metre of water with the river behind just bursting.
Since the Earthquake Torazo Koi Farm has expanded. They now have a new Koi house just up the street from the main facility and one down the street where he keeps some very nice Nisai. Along with the main tosai house behind the main facility it really is a complete Koi Farm.
Torazo Koi farm now uses up to 10 sets of parent koi each year. These comprise of 5 sets of Kohaku, 3 sets of Sanke and 2 sets of Showa. Every other year Torazo spawn a set of Shiro utsuri.
Out of all the spawning he is left with around 700 tosai which he will keep to grow on. Thats from about 8million egg. 200 of the tosai are Tancho!
Sanke bloodline – Torazo
Kohaku bloodline – From Dainichi Kohaku bloodline
Showa bloodline – From Dainichi and Ueno bloodline
Torazo Koi Farm now have over 40 mudponds in the Niigata area used for raising and growing. He also has some of the best mudponds in the area which have been in the family for generations!
Now a few questions for Kawakami San.
You have a very good understanding of the western Koi industry, how has business been for the farm?
Business has been good and bad. Smaller Koi have not sold as well as they have before but larger more expensive Koi have still sold well here.
Where is your largest Market?
Our largest market is probably Europe where will sell 30% of our stocks. I have very good clients in America and other parts of Asia along with Japan but they are more individual fish rather than bulk.
You seem to be embracing the new age world of the Internet unlike most of the Niigata Koi Breeders, has this worked for you?
Yes, the website and my blog have been working very well. I receive many emails from western people asking questions, I try my best to answer them all. Im sure the Internet will become very big in Niigata now the younger generation are taking over (laughs)
Ive asked about KHV in most of my previous articles. How do you make sure that your farm is safe?
I have regular checks from the government like we all do. I also make sure I never mix fish. We are very secure here. Nothing to worry about.
What is your aim now for the future?
We plan to expand the farm even more and introduce a few more varieties into our sales. We also plan to make more sales ponds for new customers.
Torazo Koi Farm is a must visit for anyone who visits the mountains in Niigata on a hunt for Koi. Its a very warm and friendly place and you will be made very welcome. Kawakami San is a big character in the mountains and is always open to questions and conversations.
Torazo Koi farm now have a website which is updated from time to time. Some good pictures and information can be found there. www.torazokoi.com