Tim Waddington and Paul Birchall of Quality Nishikigoi in Warrington, Cheshire, and sister company Koi Trips will shortly be undertaking their annual harvest visit to Japan to purchase new stocks for the store, and under the Koi Trips company show customers around the hallowed mountains of Niigata.

We took the chance to speak to Tim regarding their trips and what this years customers , and prospective customers, can expect of a trip to Japan with Koi Trips.


NL: You’ve been visiting Japan personally for a number of years now, when did you first visit?

TW: I first visited Japan in Spring 1992 and was pretty regular from then on. Sometimes visiting up to 4 times a year, with some trips lasting up to 6 weeks at a time.

NL: How many trips have you made now?

TW: I think I have no made around 60 trips to Japan up to date and even now still get very excited on the run up to the trip, it is pretty much like a second home, I never feel like I’m in another country.


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Tim Waddington lifting Shintaro jumbo Koi onto truck

Tim Waddington lifting Shintaro jumbo Koi onto truck

NL: When did KoiTrips start as a business?

TW: Koitrips.com started up properly only 2 years ago and we have been crazy busy ever since. I wanted to take it away from the QN brand and do it on its own. People have always wanted to go and see the Koi in Japan, and as a hobbyist who is serious, I think they all should at some stage. Even though we started properly 2 years ago we already have some clients on their 4th trip with us.

NL: How many trips does KoiTrips make each year?

TW: We do 3 arranged trips per season. The All Japan Koi Show in February, we also spend a few days in the beautiful snowy mountains seeing the breeders.

Koi Trips customers at the 2017 All Japan Koi Show

Koi Trips customers at the 2017 All Japan Koi Show

The Spring trip is mainly for the smaller Koi (Tosai) and we do take dealers with is this time of year. Hobbyists too, but most would prefer the more exciting Autumn trip.

The Autumn trip which is in October each year. This is the main trip, the harvests, the shows, the buzz around the mountains.


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Koi Trips customers in Yamakoshi, the birthplace of Nishikigoi

Koi Trips customers in Yamakoshi, the birthplace of Nishikigoi

NL: Your autumn trips seem to get your customers involved hands on a lot, what would a typical itinerary be for an autumn harvest?

TW: I will give you an example if this up coming trip now.

Clients arrive on the 16th at the hotel at around lunchtime, I will pick them up for a quick drive to the mountains to say hello to a few breeders.

The 17th is another day around the mountains in the morning, then in the afternoon we will do a nisai harvest where the clients can get in and actually harvest the Koi.

The 18th is the Shintaro #1 harvest, this is an ALL day harvest, a harvest with mostly jumbo Koi, this is one of the highlights of the trip, an amazing experience.

Koi Trips customers getting 'hands on'

Koi Trips customers getting ‘hands on’

Shintaro harvest

Shintaro harvest

The 19th is a day around the mountains, visiting as many breeders as we possibly can. Looking for specific Koi the guys on the trip will be looking for. We will leave the hotel at 9am and get back around 4pm.


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The 20th is the Matsunosuke main harvest, another of the very top breeders in the world. We will not be involved in this harvest but watching is even better, seeing the masters at work and the Koi coming out is truly amazing.

Up close and personal with Toshio 'Matsunosuke' Sakai

Up close and personal with Toshio ‘Matsunosuke’ Sakai

The 21st is the Nagaoka Koi Show so most of the day will be spent there and we will be meeting in the evening for the banquet.

The 22nd will be the day of the Matsunosuke Auction which is always fun for the customers, we have a great day and some great banter.

There are many more things to do but sometimes we just go with the flow and let things find us, which they always do!

NL: How much would a typical trip with KoiTrips cost? Is it all inclusive?

TW: We use a travel agent who really looks after us. It can cost a little extra for the flights but we are covered for anything that could go wrong, like strikes or delays etc. I have been worried about baggage strikes but they already had me on a different flight. Excellent service.


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They find the best flights and then the customers will call direct and pay over the phone, they will then receive the itinerary etc.

The hotels are booked by ourselves before we travel. We stay at an excellent hotel who give us a special price for our customers, the hotel, like any, you just pay when you check out.

The trains are booked at the time of travel by each person. Credit/debit cards can now be used pretty much all over Japan.

The only thing we take is a commission which is 20% and the client pays the freight. We then make sure they are quarantined fully back at our facility before being taken to their new homes. We also direct ship to a number of other countries from Japan.

NL: What would the customer have to pay in additional costs in Japan?

TW: The additional costs are


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  • Hotel which is around £60 per night
  • Train which around £180 total
  • Car hire which we split between how many guests are with us
  • Food and drink

 


 

The KoiTrips.com website has plenty of testimonial comments from customers – http://www.koitrips.com/testimonials/ , here are just a few snippets:

‘From the moment we contacted Tim and Paul we were impressed with their professional approach to everything flights, hotel and advice it was all first class.’ – Ian and Kristian – London

‘Would like to thank Koitrips for an amazing trip, I have been wanting to go back to Japan for years and for anyone wanting to go to Japan I would say go with Koi trips…’ – James C

‘For my first visit to Japan I went with Koitrips.com. Absolutely fantastic from leaving Manchester airport to arriving back everything was well organised.’ – Gary H – Ireland


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To find out more about KoiTrips visit – http://www.koitrips.com/ – or find them on Facebook at – https://www.facebook.com/koitrips/.

To find out more about Quality Nishikigoi visit – http://www.qualitynishikigoi.com/ – or find them on Facebook at – https://www.facebook.com/QNKoi/.

 

Don’t forget, you will also be able to follow their 2017 trip on the above sites as well.


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