Nishikigoi: From Ojiya to the World
The history of nishikigoi, koi carp, is both rich and extensive, and the city of Ojiya has played a central role in it. Introduced to Ojiya and other towns in Niigata from China around 1500AD, the first type of carp as they are known today were originally bred by farmers as a source of food, not for their beauty. However, after the discovery of a rare red-and-white type of carp in Ojiya in the early-1800s, there was a flurry of experimental cross-breeding among villagers which produced the first red and white nishikigoi. They have come to be known as ‘swimming jewels’ and are valued worldwide as ornaments. Throughout the year, many visitors from all over the world, from professional breeders and koi carp lovers to the more casual tourist, pour into Ojiya (particularly for the twice-yearly nishikigoi events held in spring and winter) to experience for themselves the mesmeric beauty and extreme variety of nishikigoi found in Ojiya.
Ojiya is also one of the only places on Honshu where visitors have the chance to take in bullfighting, with matches taking place once a month between May and November at the city’s arena. Designated a national cultural asset, no bulls are killed and the fighting doesn't involve humans, unlike in western bullfighting. Two bulls compete in a test of strength until one is too tired to continue. Each match promises visitors a spectacular show and a rousing atmosphere.
By public transportation
Take the Joetsu bullet train from Niigata Station and transfer at Nagaoka Station for Ojiya. The journey is about 40 minutes.
From Tokyo, take the Hokuriku or Kanetsu Expressway for approximately 3 hours and exit at the Ojiya Interchange.
Address: Ojiya City, Niigata Prefecture
Airport: Niigata Airport