Koi Breeds

Platinum Ogon

Platinum Ogons are metallic white and are one of the most popular Ogons. The color should be as white as fresh mountain snow. As with other Ogons, the color should be uniform throughout the fish.


Ochiba Shigure was named with autumn in mind as the dead leaves fall on the water of a pond. In choosing an Ochiba for you pond the koi should follow the three step pattern of a Kohaku with the first color step starting on the head. The color of the Ochiba is really up to you as to weather you like a darker brown or a lighter golden brown. You may or may not be able to see a dark net pattern on a young Ochiba but as they mature they may develop this feature.



Showa also known as the Showa Sanshoku. The Showa has a black (sumi) body, with red (hi) and white (shiro) markings across the body. The Showa is one of the gosanke; the ‘Big Three’, consisting of Kohaku, Sanke, and Showa. Selecting a good showa is one of the toughest young koi to choose. Showa change very much as they grow. They can also take a long time to develop, many times 5 or more years to finish.

Yamabuki Ogon

Ogon also referred to as Hikarimuji. Bright koi of a solid, metallic color. As with other Ogon koi, a clean, unblemished head and body are important. Should you purchase a young Ogon with a small blemish as the koi grows it may become very noticeable. Variations of Yamabuki Ogon include Gin Rin Yamabuki Ogon and Doitsu Yamabuki Ogon. Included in this category are koi with a pinecone-like pattern known as Matsuba.













Bekko will come in one of three types; the Aka (red) Bekko, the Shiro (white) Bekko, and the Ki (yellow) Bekko. The Bekko has a simple stepping stone pattern of sumi (black) running down it’s back set against a red, white or yellow background.

Hikari Moyo

Hikari-Moyo group are very popular due to their sparkling platinum ground and abundance of pattern variations. They are koi with two metallic colors, such as platinum and red. Like all koi in the Hikari groups, strong Hikari luster is essential. This is followed by bold, well defined patterns. Color patterns that are well balanced on the entire body are desirable.









Utsuri or Utsurimono translates as “reflections” or “reflecting ones”. This category is made up of three different color varieties. The first is the Shiro (white) Utsuri. The second variety is the Hi (fire or red) Utsuri. The third is the Ki (yellow) Utsuri. All three variations are accentuated by a sumi (black) base which emerges from under the white, red, or yellow field to create a pattern that suggests the “reflection” of color on a black background.


Doitsu were originally imported from Germany to Japan in the late 1800’s as a food fish. Doitsu have either no scales at all or they have a line of large scales along their lateral and dorsal lines. There is a Doitsu version of almost every variety; Doitsu Kohaku, Doitsu Sanke, Doitsu Yamato Nishiki, and Doitsu Hariwake just to name a few.










Asagi is one of the oldest varieties of Nishikigoi and has provided the basis for many subsequent varieties. Its back is covered in a net-like reticulated scale pattern of indigo, navy blue or pale blue. The light blue head should be clear and unblemished. The base of the pectoral fins, tail fin, stomach and gill plates is a deep orange or red color.


Shusui are the scaleless, or doitsu, version of Asagi. The differences lie in that Shusui do not have a net pattern and the only scales will be a single row along the dorsal line. The head of Shusui should be a white or pale blue-ish color, just like that of the Asagi. The head should be clear of any discoloration or spots. Large extending red cheeks are common. When it comes to the body of the Shusui koi, there are no specifics to look for when it comes to pattern. The only thing would be that the line of scales along their back should be neat and uniformed.










Kujaku is a metallic or Ogon koi with the reticulated net-like pattern of the Asagi on its back. This is overlaid with either a yellow, orange or red Kohaku-type pattern creating a striking effect. Created by crossing a Goshiki with a Hikarimuji, its full name is Kujaku Ogon, or in English, “Peacock”. The development of high quality Kujaku has led to their being judged in a category of their own at recent koi shows.


Kohaku are just about a must have for every koi pond. Red patterns set against a white background create an exquisite contrast. Points of appreciation include a bright and evenly colored beni (red), the crispness edges of the red markings should be clear against an unblemished snow-like white of the background. The crisp edge is referred to as the “kiwa”.







Taisho Sanke

Taisho Sanke was created in the early 1900’s and is also referred to as simply Sanke or Sanshoku. The positioning of the sumi accentuates the beauty of the overall pattern. Whether the sumi pattern is bold and expressive or sparse and elegant, a deep lacquer-like black is most desirable.


Tancho name was originally bestowed on a Kohaku that was completely white with the exception of a round, red “crest” on the center of its head. This Tancho Kohaku is well loved by the Japanese people as it reminds them of their national flag, a red sun on a white field. There are several other kinds of Tancho including; Tancho Sanke, Tancho Showa, and even Tancho Goshiki.








Goshiki means “five colors”, referring to the red, black and white of a Sanke as well as the navy and blue of the Asagi from which the original Goshiki were developed. Goshiki is a name given to any koi that has a white base overlaid with a grey Asagi-like net pattern which in turn is overlaid with a Kohaku-like pattern.


Kumonryu is a Doitsu (scaleless) koi that has a jet black pattern that emerges against a white background. The black pattern is variable and unstable, disappearing with changes in the water temperature, sometimes as a completely different pattern. The name Kumonryu is derived from a legend that tells of a dragon (Ryu) transforming into a cloud and racing through the sky.








Kawarigoi Formerly referred to as Kawarimono, Kawarigoi are a wide variety of non metallic Koi that have been formally recognized and named but do not fit into any of the other categories. There are many interesting varieties that fall into this category. For convenience, varieties in Kawarimono can be separated into three groups: Single-Colored Koi, Black Koi, and others.


Koromo means “clothed” or “robed”. Koromo were developed by interbreeding of Kohaku and Asagi. The Koromo has a pure white base with the Asagi-like scale reticulation showing only in the red patterned areas. Aigoromo refers to Koromo with a blue reticulation within the red scales. Purplish colored Koromo are referred to as Budogoromo.








GinRin Kohaku

GinRin or Kinginrin is a name given to the metallic flake or diamond scale effect and scales themselves reflect light like tiny silver and gold mirrors. This type of scale occurs in nearly every variety, namely; Ginrin Kohaku, Ginrin Showa, Ginrin Sanke, Ginrin Bekko, etc…

Butterfly Koi

Butterfly koi originated In the early 80s at the Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery. The long-fin genes are dominant, so breeding the fish back to color would not breed out the long fin gene. Butterfly koi are robust and tend to be a little more disease resistant.


Hikarimoyo is a category that encompasses all other metallic patterned koi that do not fit into the Hikarimuji or Hikariutsuri category. A metallic Koi that shows two or more colors is classified as Hikarimoyo. Many Hikarimoyo breeds have been developed from crosses between different Hikarimono Koi.

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