Utsuri Koi Fish

Become Familiar with the Different Variation of Utsuri

There are over 100 different varieties of Japanese Koi fish available worldwide. Not all Koi fish are the same, and each type will possess individualized features and characteristics. Identifying colors and patterns can help you determine an Utsuri Koi fish from other category types. 

A photo of an Utsuri Koi with Black Patches
The Utsuri Koi has a Balanced Pattern

If you are searching for an attractive and peaceful fish for your Koi pond, the Utsuri is a terrific choice. The coloring options available can provide a variety of beautiful fish that are moderately easy to care for and friendly. 

With proper planning and adequate space, you can enjoy several varieties of Utsuri Koi fish in your outdoor living area. These beautiful fish are calming and provide a serene addition to any backyard pond. 

The Utsuri Koi Fish 

The Utsuri Koi fish is a common category of Japanese bred carp that you can find for your backyard pond. They are calm, with a peaceful temperament, and can grow up to 28 and 40 inches in length. 

The base color is black, and it has a checkerboard pattern of alternating colored metallic scales, including red or orange, yellow, and white. Each color combination has an identifying name, which are: 

  • Hi Utsuri: black base with alternate red or orange pigment areas
  • Ki Utsuri: black Koi with alternate yellow pigment sections
  • Shiro Utsuri: black base with alternate white pigment areas
A Photo of an Utsuri Koi - Black Koi with White Markings
A Single Utsuri Koi with White Markings

The black base will be a dark lacquer-black hue and well-balanced with alternating colors from the head throughout the body. These thick patterns will wrap around the Koi to the belly or along the sides below the lateral line. 

This alternating pattern resembles a checkerboard, and the edges should be clear and defined. Each section should not appear diluted with the other color or have specks or spots, known as shimis. This imperfection can make the Koi look dirty or messy.

Hi Utsuri Koi Fish (HEE oot SOO ree)

Hi is the Japanese term for the color red. The Hi Utsuri variety is not a bright red, but rather a dark red, and sometimes a reddish-orange hue. Ideally, a Hi Utsuri will include blending black and red at the tip of the nose or mouth and spaced evenly throughout the body. 

The blending of the colors at the head is known as menware. It is a widespread trait that many pond owners look for in a Hi Utsuri. 

One Utsuri Koi with Orange Markings
Utsuri Koi is a Rare Black Koi Fish with Markings All Over Their Bodies

Both pectoral fins should sport black at the base and spread out from there, known as motoguro

Hi Utsuri begin its life wholly black, and the color will develop as the fish ages. For example, a young Hi Utsuri that possesses an orange hue can later develop into a rich, darker red color as it matures. 

Ki Utsuri Koi Fish (kee oot SOO ree)

The Ki (yellow) Utsuri Koi fish is a rare species since it holds a recessive gene from the Hi Utsuri or Shiro Utsuri. Therefore, it is challenging to produce these fish in large quantities, so they are not prevalent at Koi farms or breeders. 

The ideal Ki Utsuri Koi will have a bright, vibrant yellow coloring, but it can also have dull or muted hues, depending on the genes. In addition, it should have crisp, clean, distinct lines between the black and colored pattern sections. 

The black areas of a Ki Utsuri will always fall below the lateral lines and wrap around its entire body. Therefore, this fish will either balance alternating black and yellow patterns or sport more black markings since it is the base color. 

The yellow pigment can be augmented with a color-enhancing diet and may even alter the yellow to include an orange hue. 

Different Types of Koi - One is Utsuri
An Utsuri Koi Along with Other Types of Koi Fish

Shiro Utsuri Koi Fish (SHEE roh oot SOO ree)

The Shiro (white) Utsuri Koi fish is often confused with the Shiro Bekko since they both sport black and white markings. Alternatively, the Bekko is a white species with black markings, while the Shiro Utsuri has the black base color as the Utsuri fish do with alternating white bands. 

This color combination is a popular choice with many Koi pond owners. The Shiro will start completely black, and with age, lighter areas begin to appear. It may look yellowish or greyish in tone, but it should display bright white-colored bands as it matures. 

A full-grown Shiro Utsuri should have brilliant, snow-white patches that contrast to the deep, jet-black base. These colors should alternate throughout the body, with the pectoral fins mainly showcasing white with only slight black hues at the bottom. 

Frank Salvatore

In 2015 our family moved into a house south of Denver, Colorado with a  koi pond.  Since that time I've learned to really enjoy the koi fish and the pond. This blog is dedicated to providing helpful hints and information for koi pond hobbyists - as well as those of you who just inherited a koi pond and are thinking NOW WHAT?

About Me

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. In 2015 our family moved into a house south of Denver, Colorado that had a Koi pond. The problem was I knew absolutely NOTHING about koi ponds.

This blog is dedicated to providing helpful hints and information for koi pond hobbyists - as well as those of you who just inherited a koi pond and are thinking NOW WHAT?
Learn More About Me

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