Types of Koi Varieties

There are over a 100 different types of koi (Nishikigoi).

To find the proper koi classification you will need to look at their colors, patterns, and body confirmation. Each type of koi fish variety has it’s own specific details for identification and can be described based off another classification of Japanese Koi type.

For example, a Showa Sanke is a koi with calligraphic Sumi pattern on Kohaku and the Goshiki was created by breeding Asagi with Kohaku. View popular koi varieties below and click to learn about each type of koi.


Types of Koi Varieties Common in Koi Shows

Most Popular Types of Koi for Shows

  • Kohaku
  • Taisho Sanke
  • Showa
  • Utsuri mono
  • Bekko
  • Asagi
  • Shusui
  • Koromo
  • Goshiki
  • Hikari Muji
  • Hikari Moyo
  • Hikari Utsuri
  • Tancho
  • Kin Ginrin
  • Doitsu
  • Kawari mono

If you are interested in learning more, we recommend you read the history of Nishikigoi.


Asagi are characterized by 1) a blue or indigo body, and 2) red at the base of the pectoral fins. The red at the base of the pectoral fins is called Motoaka.


Bekko have only black and white colors in simple stepping stone pattern. There are no Hi (red) markings on this koi although it is bred from the Taisho Sanke koi.


Doitsu are German carp that are scale-less. Depending on the type of Doitsu, there may be scales along the lateral and dorsal lines of the koi or no scales at all.


Ginrin indicates the group of koi varieties that have diamond scales on the entire bodies. These scales are different from metallic and Platinum koi due to their scales being reflective and shining in the light in a miraculous way. 


Goshiki was created in 1918 by breeding Asagi with Kohaku koi and truly shows a rainbow of colors. The black, blue, and grey colors appear in a netted pattern.


Hirenaga koi are the butterflies of the water, and are known for their graceful, flowing fins. The long fins and tail of the Hirenaga should be solid without tears and ideally should be symmetrical.


Kawarimono are nonmetallic koi that do not fit in to a class of fish like the others do. This is a broad variety of koi, and are all special and very unique.


Kikokuryu is essentially a metallic Kumonryu, a koi with shiny Platinum skin and fins with deep Sumi colors throughout.


It has been said that koi keeping begins and ends with Kohaku. In any variety that contains red patterns, it’s evaluated on an examination of its Kohaku pattern.


Koromo are excellent koi and one to stand out. Koromo, means clothes or robe in Japanese and have a beautiful Hi (red) pattern of Kohaku on their pure white skin with an indigo blue pattern.


Ogon, meaning gold, belongs to the Hikari Muji group. An Ogon is a solid-colored metallic koi, from silver to gold, and shines beautifully in a pond.


Platinum koi can grow to be jumbo and are most treasured when they have a beautiful solid metallic shine with no blemishes or scars. They will shine beautifully in your dark pond with their almost reflective bodies.


Showa are beautiful koi, with colors of white, red, and black painted across their bodies. Showa are one of the Gosanke or “Big 3” koi fish along with Taisho Sanke and Kohaku koi. Before 1975, Showa were represented by the lineage of Kobayashi Showa.


Shusui was the first Doitsu variety of koi and are one of the only two blue koi! They are a Doitsu (scale-less) version of Asagi. Shusui was first bred in the early 1900’s by Yoshigoro Akiyama mixing the Doitsugio, a German scale fish, and the Asagi.

Taisho Sanke

Taisho Sanke were developed from Kohaku about 80 years ago in 1918 in the era of Taisho. The Taisho Sanke, also called Taisho Sanshoku, pattern consists of three colors: white, red (Hi) and black (Sumi).


Tancho are loved for many reasons including their resemblance to the Japanese flag and ability to stand out in a pond. They are named after the sacred red crowned crane of Japan for good fortune, love and long life.


The base of their body is sumi (black), and utsuri means “reflection”. There are three beautiful varieties of Utsurimono including Hi (red), Shiro (white) or Ki (yellow).

We’ll be continuing to update this list of koi varieties, please request a koi if you can not find what you are looking for. 

View All Koi Varieties Available


We have only the best Japanese Koi available. Take look through our inventory to choose the one that catches your eye!

Every koi has a special characteristic and only you know which is best for your pond.