Koi Varieties

Koi fish come in a multitude of beautiful colors and patterns often referred to by their Japanese names. This is a list of koi varieties with some examples for sale and a description with their Japanese names.

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“Bekko” are a koi with black (sumi) markings over a solid color. They come in red (hi) also known as - aka - “Aka Bekko” or yellow (ki) Ki Bekko”, or white (shiro) Shiro Bekko”.

“Bekko” are sometimes confused with “Utsuri“, which is a solid black color koi which has red, yellow or white markings over the solid black.


Doitsu meaning “Germany”  is a German carp cross breed with a Japanese carp beginning in 1904 when they were brought in by Shinnosuke Matsubara who hoped to improve Japan's supply of edible fish meat.

“Doitsu” are a koi that is only partially scaled over their thick skin sometimes reffered to as “leather”. They come in a wide variety of scale patterns and classifications with “Doitsu“ as the start of their name. They can create strong sharply defined patterns with bold contrasts.

Doitsu Kujaku Imported from Japan

“Goromo” or “Koromo” (meaning “robed”) is a koi where the red (hi) is robed in another color such as blue (ai) “Ai Goromo” ), sumi (black) “Sumi Goromo” and one of my personal favorite koi, a  “Budo (meaning “grape”) “Budo Goromo”). Goromo or Koromo also can be found in a Sanke (“Koromo Sanke”) as well as a Showa(“Koromo Showa”) the later also known as an “Ai Showa”.


“Karasu” or “Karasugoi” (meaning “crow fish“) is a black (sumi) koi which may have an orange (orenji) or white (shiro) belly. They can add an element of excitement or mystery to a dark pond when this all but invisible koi suddenly breaks the water's surface. A true karasugoi will be completely black except the underbelly which is not seen unless they are playing or feeding and as with all koi, the price for perfection can be high.

Sanke Imported from Japan