What Koi Is the Rarest?

Koi fish are known for their stunning colors and patterns, making them one of the most sought-after ornamental fish in the world. With a wide variety of koi breeds available, each with its unique characteristics, it can be challenging to determine which koi is the rarest.

In this article, we will explore some of the rarest koi breeds and what sets them apart.

The Kohaku Koi

The Kohaku koi is one of the most popular and sought-after varieties. It features a white body with bold red markings on its head and body.

What makes this koi breed rare is the quality and intensity of its red coloration. The ideal Kohaku has a pure white base with vibrant red markings that are well-defined and evenly distributed.

The Tancho Koi

The Tancho koi is instantly recognizable by its single red dot on its head, resembling Japan’s flag, which is known as “Hinomaru.” This unique characteristic makes it highly coveted among koi enthusiasts worldwide.

The perfect Tancho has a spot perfectly centered on its head without any blemishes or variations in color.

The Ginrin Showa Koi

The Ginrin Showa koi stands out due to its metallic scales, which create a sparkling effect under sunlight. This breed combines the black base color of Showa with reflective scales known as “ginrin.”

The rarity of this koi lies in finding a specimen with intense black coloration, vibrant red patterns, and well-defined ginrin scales across its body.

Other Rare Koi Varieties:

  • Yamabuki Ogon: This koi breed features a solid, bright yellow coloration, resembling gold. The intensity and evenness of its color make it highly sought after.
  • Goshiki: Goshiki translates to “five colors” in Japanese.This koi breed exhibits a combination of white, black, red, blue, and brown markings on its body.
  • Kumonryu: Kumonryu koi have a monochrome color pattern that changes with the seasons. They can transition between black and white or gray and white, creating a captivating effect.

Remember that rarity in koi breeds can vary depending on factors such as geographic location and availability. Additionally, the overall quality of an individual fish plays a crucial role in determining its rarity and value.


While there are several rare koi breeds, the Kohaku, Tancho, Ginrin Showa, Yamabuki Ogon, Goshiki, and Kumonryu stand out due to their unique characteristics and visual appeal. Whether you’re a seasoned koi enthusiast or just starting your journey into the world of koi keeping, these rare breeds will undoubtedly add beauty and elegance to any pond or garden.

Photo of author

Michael Allen