Yamato Nishiki

This Beautiful Rare Fish Will Add Variety to Your Koi Collection

Koi fish make beautiful, fascinating pets. They come in a wide variety of types, each with its own unique appearance and characteristics. Koi are colorful and fun to watch, can grow up to three feet long in size, and, with an average lifespan of forty years, they live much longer than other pets like cats or dogs.

A photo of a Showa Koi with other Koi Fish with Different Patterns and Markings
Sanke's Vibrant Metallic Version is Yamato Nishiki

Many make the mistake of thinking that these fish descended from goldfish. On the contrary, Koi fish are descendants of the carp. Japanese fish breeders in the 1600s noticed that some carp sported brightly colored scales, so they bred them to create the eye-catching fish we know today.

One of the most gorgeous breeds of Koi fish is the Yamato Nishiki. To learn more about the origin, appearance, characteristics, rarity, and habitat of the Yamato Nishiki, read on.


The Yamato Nishiki Koi fish is the result of crossbreeding the Sanke and the Platinum Ogon. The Yamato Nishiki gets its distinctive red and black spots from the Sanke, while its metallic sheen comes from the Platinum Ogon, a solid white Koi fish.

Some Yamato Nishiki fish have scales, while others, called Doitsu, are scaleless. 

A Shoal of Koi with Platinum Ogon Koi
A Group of Different Varieties of Koi - Some are Yamato Nashiki


While all breeds of Koi fish are aesthetically pleasing, Yamato Nishiki are especially striking. Their base color is the pure, metallic white of the Platinum Ogon. 

Overlaying this clean white base is an eye-catching pattern of red or orange and black. While this color comes from the fish’s Sanke origins, the Yamato Nishiki’s red-and-black pattern is more vibrant and bright than the Sanke.

Ideally, the red/orange and black pattern on the Yamato Nishiki is evenly spaced and consistent over the fish’s body. 


Like all Koi fish, Yamato Nishiki are very social and friendly. Once they adjust to their environment and develop a feeding schedule, they recognize the human who feeds them. They will sometimes feed from the human’s hand and even jump out of the water to greet them.

A Variety of Different Koi Fish - some are Yamato Nashiki and The Rest Have Different Markings and Patterns

When Yamato Nishiki experience stress, they often become unenergetic and withdrawn. They might retreat to the bottom of their pool and refuse to socialize. Like all Koi, Yamato Nishiki are very sensitive to change and can react poorly if you do not give them an appropriate amount of time to adjust to new surroundings or elements in their environment.

Yamato Nishiki are highly intelligent animals. They have extensive long-term memory and can recognize human faces and even their names.


Yamato Nishiki are a scarce breed of Koi fish. Finding one that meets the high quality appearance standards for the breed is no easy task. 

Two Different types of Koi
A Yamato Nahsiki Along with Another Ornamental Koi Fish


Like all Koi fish, Yamato Nishiki requires a large body of fresh water to thrive. While they were not bred in the wild and have no “natural habitat,” these fish can survive in ponds, lakes, and other large freshwater bodies.

Of course, the most common place to find them is in domestic Koi ponds. Groups of Yamato Nishiki can lead long, content lives in an artificial garden pond if all of the right conditions are maintained, they are fed correctly with high quality growth food, and kept healthy.

Acquiring Yamato Nishiki

If you're thinking about adding this beautiful variety of koi to your pond, be sure to check out our koi providers directory. Here, you'll find local and online listings of vendors who have Yamato Nishiki for sale. Online vendors are actually able to ship koi right to your door.

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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