FFP Team’s Winter Japan Trip: AJKS

All Japan Koi Show

The FFP Team, Brian Fitzsimmons, Ryan Cardillo and AJ Mandell returned from Japan in early February. During the winter trip, the team attends the All Japan Koi Show which is one of the most prestigious koi competitions in the world. This year’s show was the first in person show since 2020, so it was great to see the enthusiasm of all the koi hobbyists as well as getting to connect with other dealers and hobbyists all over the world!


At the All Japan Koi Show, visitors can see hundreds of koi fish on display, each judged on a variety of criteria such as color, pattern, body shape, and overall health.

The event also features vendors selling koi-related merchandise, as well as educational sessions and presentations about koi breeding and care. The event is organized by the Japan Koi Breeders Association, which represents over 200 koi breeders in Japan. This is a must-see event for anyone interested in koi fish or Japanese culture. It is an opportunity to see some of the most beautiful and prized koi in the world.

At this year’s show, FFP won an award for the best Ki Utsuri which is a great honor that we are proud of. Brian was also interviewed by Tokyo’s cable news which was an awesome opportunity to have that type of recognition in Japan! The overall Grand Champion koi was a 100cm Sanke from Sakai fish farm and it was the first Sanke that has won in approximately 10 years.

Touring the Koi Houses and Buying Koi

During this trip we visited many of the same breeders at their koi houses and facilities that we did during our fall harvest trip. We toured and sourced koi from Shintaro, Marudo, Hiroseji, Ikarashi, Sekiguchi, Marusei, Maruhiro, Marusho, Yamasan, Hiroi, Koda, Kase, Shinoda, Marusada, Iwashita, Torazo, Hirashin and more.

Our buying focus on this trip is to secure tosai for our FFP Farm as well as our retail stores. We also buy for some of our wholesale customers while there as well. This trip, we sourced over 40,000 tosai consisting of some of the highest quality we have ever been able to bring back. We also sourced specific larger koi for customers who placed specific orders. The shipment from this trip will land in the US in the middle of March and we can’t wait for you all to see these beautiful koi!

Koi Trips: Not all Business!


For anyone interested in joining us on this winter koi trip, be prepared to face some snow when traveling in the mountains! When driving to the koi houses, there were approx. 10ft snow banks on each side of the road! It is such a different experience seeing the mud ponds completely covered in snow. It becomes very clear why the fall harvest of the koi is so important, not only to see their growth but also because of the extreme snowfall.









One benefit of the winter trip and the snowfall in Japan is that Niigata prefecture is not only famous for koi, but also its excellent skiing and snowboarding. Yamakoshi, where most of the koi breeders reside, even has its own little ski slope that is run by some of the breeders! For those looking for world class skiing, you can hop on the bullet train from our home base in Nagaoka, and ride two quick stops to Echigo Yuzawa, which is the ski/snowboard capital of Japan. From the station, it is a two minute walk to the rental shop where you can rent everything you need for the slopes. At the rental shop, you can choose from several different mountains in the area, and they will personally give you a ride there and pick you up after. The lift tickets are very affordable compared to mountains in the US or Europe and one lift ticket gives you access to several of the mountains. With the amount of snow the mountains in Niigata get, you are almost guaranteed to have fresh powder every day. This year, we decided to try Ishiuchi Mountain. We went on a weekday, which was great since the mountains were empty. The snow was excellent, and the mountain had slopes for every skill level. If you enjoy skiing or snowboarding, it is definitely a huge benefit of the winter koi trip!

Fun in Tokyo!

Another benefit of the winter trip is that we get to spend some time in Tokyo. Since the All Japan Koi Show is in Tokyo, we will usually arrive in Tokyo a night or two before, which gives us some time to explore the city! During the harvest trip, we usually head straight up to Nagaoka from the airport, however if you would like to explore Tokyo before, it can certainly be arranged!

Some of the fun tourist attractions and experiences we have done include interactive art museums, very cool koi pond light shows, dining at some amazing restaurants and as well as exploring the night life!

This year, we went on a go cart tour of Tokyo! We all dressed up as cartoon characters and engaged in a “real life Mario Cart” as we drove around famous areas of Tokyo such as Shinjuku and Shibuya. It was an awesome way to see and experience the city while having some fun!

Going on one of our organized Koi Trips is an experience that you will remember forever and you will have prized koi of your choice to bring back with you as a special memento!

Interested in coming to Japan with us? Inquire today by clicking here!