I’ve had some very interesting and positive reactions to the Yamakoshi aerial images that I’ve been posting over the last couple of weeks taken with my drone.

One thing that is very apparent to me is how little the do to give any sense of scale to the size of the Koi breeding area of Niigata.

The map below which has Ojiya City and the Shinano River to the left hand side shows an area of 80 square KM.  As you can see there are many famous Koi farms situated in that area, and it is, in truth, a small snapshot of the greater area of Koi production, but the most densely populated in terms of farms and mud ponds.  In this shot alone there must be several thousand ponds.

Map showing 80 square KM of Ojiya, Nagaoka and Yamakoshi

Map showing 80 square KM of Ojiya, Nagaoka and Yamakoshi

Panoramic image taken from the 'breakfast spot'

Panoramic image taken from the ‘breakfast spot’

This panoramic image shows the heart of Yamakoshi, to the far left is Yomogihira village, 1/3rd of the way in is Mushigame Village, 2/3rd of the way in is Takezawa.  At the very edge of the image is the gasoline station that visitors to the area will be familiar with.

The version below show direct line measurements between several points.  Left to right Yomogihira to the gasoline station.  The upward line is to Yamakoshi Branch office in Takezawa.  Whilst there are many mud ponds that can be seen, many many more cannot be.

Breakfast panorama with scale measurements

Breakfast panorama with scale measurements

This aerial shot shows the mudponds that can be seen in the centre of the panorama above.  This cluster of ponds covers an area of 0.15 square KM, or 440m by 330m.


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Mushigame mud ponds

Mushigame mud ponds

Some ponds of course are larger than others.  The image below is Shintaro Koi Farm’s number one mud pond, in itself 135m long, and 85m at its widest point, a surface area of around 9000sqm, and a depth of around 4m at its deepest point.

Shintaro Koi Farm number 1 mud pond

Shintaro Koi Farm number 1 mud pond

This is a very unique corner of Japan, other mountain are full of rice terraces, only in the area surrounding Yamakoshi have the mountains been carved into so many ponds for the production of Nishikigoi.


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