Every year I get many questions from people wanting to visit the Shinkokai All Japan Koi Show, without question the major show event on the global Koi calendar.

Staged at Tokyo Ryutsu Centre at the end of January or early February annually, the Shinkokai All Japan Koi Show attracts the very best Koi in Japan, to win there is the ultimate prize, with the highest level of competition of any of the shows in Japan.

2017 All Japan Koi Show Poster

2017 All Japan Koi Show Poster

Understandably a visit to the ‘All Japan’ is on many hobbyists wish list and is, in reality, an incredibly simple trip for the lone traveler, or small group of hobbyists, to undertake.

My first trip to the All Japan Show was in 2006, booked just a week or so in advance, and lasted just 5 days – the Internet buzz through January about the possibility of fellow Brits Mark Crampton and Martin Plows winning the Grand Champion prize had made the trip too difficult to resist.

In this article I’ll try and answer many of the frequent questions I get asked about the logistics of visiting the show.

Dates

In 2017 the show will be staged on 4th and 5th February in that these are the 2 official open days, the show ‘weekend’ however starts on the Wednesday before when the empty exhibition hall is transformed in just a few hours into the show venue.


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Below is a timetable for the show:

Wednesday 1st – Set up day (nothing for the public to see)
Thursday 2nd – Benching day (8am – 5pm approx) – public are able to enter however please be aware there are lots of Koi being moved so visitors should ensure they do not get in the way
Friday 3rd – Judging day – public are not allowed to enter during the course of judging which starts at 9am and runs until around 3pm
Saturday 4th – Open to the public  – 9am – 5pm
Sunday 5th – Open to the public – 9am – 2pm (presentation ceremony takes place from 11am until approx. 1pm)

Travel

An increasing number of flights to Tokyo arrive at Haneda Airport which is absolutely perfectly located for the show visitor.

Tokyo Ryutsu Centre is situated just 4 stops away from Haneda International Airport on the Tokyo Monorail, a journey which takes 5-10 minutes depending on whether the train boarded is a ‘rapid’ service.  Be aware not all trains stop at Tokyo Ryutsu Centre.

Tokyo Monorail services also easily connect to other rail services in Tokyo, including the Yamanote Line which acts as a circle line around the city.  If staying in Shinagawa, as many do, this is the easy point of access.

Tokyo Monorail Stations

Tokyo Monorail Stations

JR Yamanote Line - Tokyo

JR Yamanote Line – Tokyo

 


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If arriving at Tokyo Narita there are several options for getting to downtown Tokyo about an hour away.

Airport Limousine buses depart from the bus stations in front of the arrival halls of both Terminals 1 and 2. Airport Limousines run frequent journeys between Tokyo Narita and various parts of Tokyo, including direct to the hotels in Shinagawa. Tickets cost ¥3000, approximately US$30 or £18. Full details can be found on the Airport Limousine website – http://www.limousinebus.co.jp/en/

The Tokyo Narita Express runs frequent trains into Tokyo station as well as direct to Shinagawa station. Again the cost is approx US$30 or £18. Details can be found on the Narita Express website – http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/

The Keisei Skyliner is another option, again running frequently from Narita Airport to downtown Tokyo, which takes as little as 36 minutes.  Shinagawa is 58minutes via Ueno Station and the Yamanote line.  See the Keisei Line website for more details – http://www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/skyliner/us/index.html

Heisei Skyliner map

Heisei Skyliner map

Getting to the Ryutsu Centre

The majority of people seem to stay at Shinagawa where there are several hotel options (see accomodation later).  Therefore this section assumes you will do the same.

The Ryutsu Centre is easily accessible from Shinagawa Station by train, and then monorail. Upon entering the main entrance to Shinagawa Station and going up the escalator on the right hand side, in front of you you will see a bank of ticket machines. Most have an ‘English language’ button. Purchase a ¥190 ticket. If you are ever in doubt about which value ticket to purchase simply purchase the cheapest. Each station has a fare adjustment machine by the exit barrier. Simply put your ticket in and it will tell you what you need to pay. On passing through the barriers you need to take the Yamanote Line, which has bright green signs, bound for Tokyo. Just 2 stops away is Hamamatsucho where you disembark to take the Tokyo Monorail. The price of a one way ticket to the Ryutsu Centre on the Monorail is ¥330 but again, if you purchase the wrong ticket you simply need to use the fare adjustment machine. Be aware, some of the Monorail trains leaving Hamamatsucho are fast trains directly to Haneda Airport, make sure you board a ‘Local Service’ train. The Monorail journey takes around 10 minutes to reach the Ryutsu Centre which is the 3rd stop. When you see the Ryutsu Centre you would imagine everyone would know it. Sadly this isn’t the case. Many taxi drivers in Tokyo simply have no idea where it is despite the fact it’s only a 20 minute ride from Shinagawa. If you do choose to take a taxi you might want to print this map off in advance and show it to the porter/taxi driver. Shinagawa is at the top, Ryutsu Centre at the bottom.  This is a link to the map and directions on Google Maps.


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Driving map from Shinagawa to Ryutsu Centre

Driving map from Shinagawa to Ryutsu Centre

From other areas then it is generally a case of getting on the Tokyo Monorail or getting a taxi.

If you are returning from the show to your hotel then the taxis at Tokyo Ryutsu Center have no problem doing the journey in reverse!

Where to stay

Shingawa Prince Hotel is the place where most visitors to the All Japan stay.

Shinagawa Prince Hotel

Shinagawa Prince Hotel

A wide range of rooms are available and it is conveniently located directly opposite Shinagawa Station.  There are a number of restaurants and bars around the hotel including TGI Fridays and McDonalds for the less adventurous.

See the official Prince Hotel website for more information – http://www.princehotels.com/en/shinagawa/

Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa – is situated near Shinagawa Prince Hotel, although a few minutes walk further on from the station.


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Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa

Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa

See the official Prince Hotel website for more information – http://www.princehotels.com/en/newtakanawa

There are of course many other hotels in and around the area.  Advice would be to look for easy access to either the Yamanote Line in the area between Shinagawa and Tokyo, or easy access to the Tokyo Monorail.

In a later post we will provide an ‘Insiders Guide to the All Japan Koi Show’, explaining the show classes, judging process, awarding and show layout.

Should you have any questions then, as always, please do not hesitate to get in contact – http://nishikigoi.life/contact-us/


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