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.


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.


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.

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).


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


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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.