Kohaku Koi Fish

kohaku koi fish

Lucky is the pond owner and enjoys watching a Kohaku koi swim among the lily pads. The Kohaku is one of the oldest and most beloved koi and is often the most loved by koi enthusiasts.

Kohaku is the heart of koi-keeping. Examining the Kohaku pattern of any variety containing red marks can help you determine its quality. Showa, Taisho Sanke, and Kohaku are the three most popular koi fish varieties, called Gosanke.

Kohaku ~ Model of the Japanese Flag

Tancho Kohaku’s red spot on the forehead is a living model of the Japanese flag. It represents a red sun in a white field.

Kohaku is the most commonly won “Grand Champion” title in Japanese shows. This is because Kohaku is Japan’s most famous fish, and breeders of Koi spend most of their time creating the best specimens.

Origin of Kohaku Koi

Out of the 80+ varieties of koi, the Kohaku is the most representative. It is red with a white body.

The Koi with red skin on white was already known two hundred years ago. They were still called “Sarasa Geng Sha” at that time. Named after “Sarasa Geng Sha,” a Japanese traditional craft textile, Sarasa. Sarasa is a traditional textile in which different colors can be dyed on cotton cloth. The Sarasa Koi’s appearance 200 years ago attracted many people’s attention and earned them a favor. After the exhibition, Sarasa remained her name.

Nishikigoi was popularized in Japan after the war. The name was changed from Sarasa to Kohaku by accident.

Kohaku is a representative koi fish and is loved by people worldwide. People take the bloodline of Koi as seriously as dogs and cats. The name of the breeder is just as important as the designer bag.

How to judge Kohaku

Shiroi is the name for the white background of any variety. Although we refer to it as the background, it should be considered an actual color and other colors like red and black. Always keep the Shiroji snow-white. Future, in addition to the Shiroji, will enhance the beauty of this Koi. Furkurin, the koi’s skin, creates a beautiful net around the mature scales of some koi.

The Hi (red pattern in Kohaku) must be at the tail section. That line between Hi and Shiroji is the Odome. Odom Hi is the red mark at the tail section. Its appearance can dramatically affect the value of the koi. The thicker the Hi is, the better in Kohaku. An intensely red Hi does not necessarily mean it is better. As the Hi grows, koi’s Hi will get thicker. How much carotene is absorbed from the food koi eat will determine the color of the Hi. To achieve a beautiful, wide Hi color, we must offer carotene foods. Also, it is desirable to have the Himoyo wrap below the lateral line for the koi. This we call Maki.

The head of a Koi is the same as a human’s face. Toh Hi is the name of Hi on the koi’s head. Toh Hi is important because it reflects the personality of the koi. The ideal balance for Toh Hi and Odom Hi is to be equal. Even though they don’t know why koi with this balance look beautiful. Koi also need to have a healthy eye. How we judge the koi will be affected by the color of their eyes.

What Patterns Should You Look For?

If you see a Kohaku with a consistent pattern of one single red blossom at the center of each scale and it’s pleasing to the eyes, it is known as Kanoko (fawn). These fish can be a good investment. However, rumors say that Kanoko Kohaku will “go away,” and the red dots won’t last many years. This leaves you with only a costly white fish.

It can appear in spots, lightning strikes, solid (ippon), or even zig-zags (Inazuma). Two areas are called “Two Step” Kohaku, Nidan, and three are “Three-Step Kohaku” or Sandan. Although they have names for the Four-Step and Five-Step patterns, they are generally less valuable than the two and three-step koi.

The Kohaku’s body should be pretty fat and rounded. The more mature fish will have fat “cheeks.” The caudal fin should emerge from the tail’s base, and it should be fatter than streamlining. Also, the fan-shaped pectoral fins that run behind the head must be large and round. The better, the rounder and whiter you are. A disappointment is thin pectoral fins with an almond-shaped shape. The fish’s body should be more comprehensive than its head. This would indicate that it is a female.

Varieties Relating to “Hi” – Red Markings


Connected red (or Hi) covers most of the body and head. This continuous pattern usually forms a straight line from the head to the tail. Straight Hi can also look like large masses of red or islands that connect along with the head and back.


Inazuma, another continuous red pattern running from head to tip is zigzag-shaped. This pattern is often called a “lightning bolt.” This pattern was popularized by 1970 when a koi using this pattern won the All Nippon Show. It’s a no-longer-existent koi competition.


Nidan, which means “two” in Japanese, comprises two red patches, sometimes called “stepping stones,” that are not connected. One island is usually located towards the head or base, and the other is closer toward the tail. Although this is less common, koi can be considered Nidan if they have islands on opposite sides or dorsal fins.


Sandan, which means “three” in Japanese, refers to the three red islands of the koi. These islands must be found dorsally, running from the tail towards the head.

Goten Sakura

This sub-breed is roughly translated to “cherry blossom,” and the koi are either spotted or speckled in red. Although each red spot looks like a cherry blossom, it can also look like a grape or large berry.


Kohaku Koi from the Tancho variety has a red sun marking or a single, round, red spot on the top and between the eyes. This is unlike the other sub-breeds. The rest of the body, however, is white.


Hanatsuke koi will develop a reddish patch at the neck or base of their heads that appear to be running or bleed upwards toward the head. It does not cover the entire head but runs along the border between the eyes.


Kuchibeni Kohaku’s red markings around the mouth make it an unusual and distinctive pattern. This is sometimes called the “lipstick” design. Red can be used to cover the entire mouth or just a portion.


Kohaku Handling & Care

Kohaku is easy to care for. Kohaku will be able to use the same fish-care used for koi. These fish can be kept outdoors in cold conditions as they tolerate cold climates. 

Last Updated on March 5, 2022 by Davin