When we hear the word koi, we immediately think of Japan. Osaka and Tokyo are two of its top tourist destinations and I was blessed to have visited the former last December. Two things made me appreciate Japan: the warmth of the people and the clean environment.
Months later, my bible study friends and I decided to visit again but this time, we went to less popular prefectures. I saw beautiful lakes and ponds full of Chagoi and Soragoi koi fishes. I also went to the Sunday market where an older lady sold goldfish at the Kochi prefecture.We went to a place called Miyazaki where the Little Kyoto of Kyushu or the Oita Castle town was located. The place was quiet and we were met with heavy rain.
The street pond was about 1 meter wide and 2 feet high. What surprised me was the length of the pond, which was connected to the other side of the street. I tried to check how their filtration system worked, but I couldn’t find where it was installed.
If it wasn’t raining and there were no time constraints, I would have loved to stay for days just to study the street pond system. I had a lot of questions: Where was the water coming from? Who was feeding the koi fishes? Was there a filtration system maintaining the clean water? Was there security provided to
Miyazaki is the capital city of Miyazaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu. Its population was small, yet we were greeted warmly by highschool students. We then decided to walk around town.
I saw a street sign that said “Ornamental Carp Swim Zone” with koi graphics. I headed there like a kid and the rain didn’t stop me. My goddaughter and her siblings joined our trip, and they were amazed to see healthy koi in the street ponds, such as Kohaku, Sanke, Bekko, and Showa koi. Most of them were plump and had really bright colors, with sizes ranging from 12 to 24 inches.
I had a guess; I used to work as a technical sales consultant for a fiber glass company. A client was a manufacturing firm that fabricated sewerage systems for residential use to be exported to Japan known for strict water treatment. Seeing the street ponds, I realized how serious the country was with cleanliness.
I think their culture made such ponds possible. I remain inspired and hopeful that someday, we would attain such a level of discipline in fish keeping.
For videos of this wonderful koi street, you can visit my YouTube upload titled “Koi street pond at Miyazaki Japan.”
This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s August 2019 issue.