Updated: Jan 28
1. Carry your passport with you at all times.
Japan has strict immigration policies, and foreigners visiting Japan may be stopped or searched by the police without without prior notice. A foreign visitor without a passport on hand may be detained by the police, so in order to avoid hours of trouble and stress being detained, be prepared, always have your passport on hand.
2. Watch your step!
Some Koi farms in Japan place Styrofoam boards, thin bamboo mats or panels over areas of their indoor concrete ponds,
these covers or boards are meant to keep the Koi from jumping out of the ponds. However, almost every year
a visitor from abroad makes the mistake of stepping on one of these boards or mats perhaps not noticing, or believing that the covers are part of the platform. However, they quickly realize their mistake when the fragile boards break, dunking the victim in cold water. For your safety, please keep an eye open for boards, mats, panels, or bamboo screens that are near the edges of the ponds, and try to keep your phones and electronic valuables protected while visiting farms.
3. Don't Cross Contaminate
Some newly visiting Koi buyers often enjoy photographing Koi, however, one should not feel free to put
your hands into a facilities water. Please do not touch or place any tools, nets, or waterproof cameras into the water of facility ponds. Always ask for permission first, and take steps to avoid cross contamination from one pond to another, and from one facility to another. Never start to catch or net fish without prior permission.
4. Serious inquiries only
When visiting multiple Koi breeder facilities, there are hundreds and or thousands of particular fish that may be for sale. Only ask for the price of fish that you are seriously interested in. When you consider the volume of tourists visiting these facilities, you may begin to understand that the repetitive questioning of prices for fish which you are not really interested in purchasing may be felt as a nuisance.
5. Keep up the pace
When viewing or purchasing fish from multiple ponds, try to finish selecting or purchasing Koi at one pond before moving to a different pond or building. Fish should not be left in the viewing bowls for extended periods of time. The longer the time that Koi are kept in a bowl, the less oxygen there will be in the viewing bowl water, and the more that concern will be raised for their well being. Try to keep a good fast pace when viewing, photographing and purchasing Koi, and try not to wonder off and start picking from multiple ponds, leaving your first selections to suffocate or become injured while waiting in the bowl.
6. Do not turn off air pumps
When visiting Koi farms, always consult with the farm owner or breeder before turning off an air pump yourself.
In many cases the breeder will turn off the pumps themselves.
If permitted to turn off an air pump, be sure to turn it back on before you leave, or notify the breeder.
It would be in your best interest not to be the one that killed a whole pond of Koi. :)
7. Insults and criticism of Koi - Don't do it
It is understood that most buyers are looking for high quality Koi, and in this endeavor not every Koi meets the standards of
every buyer, that being said, when visiting Japan and Koi farms it's always advised to keep criticisms or insults of Koi or farms to yourself, breeders take pride in their work and craft.
8. Do not cancel purchases
When visiting a farm, if you agree to purchase a fish from a breeder and/or you shake hands, the sale is final. Verbal agreements in the Koi industry of Japan are taken seriously.
9. Don't wear too much perfume or cologne
Number 9 is a funny one, but in Japan the term "smell violence" has been thrown around in the recent years, try to keep your fragrances to a minimum if possible. And if you don't heed this advice, don't be surprised if you are asked to leave an establishment.
10. Be polite
This is one that shouldn't have to be told, but experience has shown me otherwise, but when in Japan, try to be polite.
Please try to follow all rules of decency, don't fight, don't use violence, don't argue with people or cause trouble, and don't break the law.