This 4in1 expedition will be more diversified than all our previous JBL expeditions: koi breeders, culture, coral reefs and rainforest in one journey. Nothing could be more exciting!
While developing the JBL ProPond range in Japan with the famed koi breeders of Niigata, the idea to plan a JBL journey, where koi fans could visit the breeders themselves and address their questions straight to the experts, was hatched.
But Japan has much more to offer than “just“ koi breeders, and so the journey became an expedition. To get a small impression of Tokyo, once we have arrived, we will spend the rest of the day on a sightseeing tour of the city and spend some time in the beautiful garden of Hama-Rikyu Onshi-Teien.
In the evening we’ll go on to the foot of the holy mountain Fuji where we’ll visit a national park near a lake. We’ll spend the following day here, enjoying the Japanese autumn nature and, of course, we will take a look below the surface of the lake – with a view of the volcanic cone of Mt Fuji in front of us all the time.
In the afternoon we’ll be continuing to Nikko, a town where we can visit the many notable relics of ancient Japan.
From old unrestored temple complexes, beautifully restored temples to teahouses and ancient imperial mansions you’ll find everything.
Near Nikko there is a beautiful lake with a Shinto shrine and the famous Kegon Falls. Fans of the cold will be able to take a look below the water surface of the mountain streams to gain an insight into the mostly endemic freshwater fauna.
After one and a half days we will continue on the high-speed train Shinkansen to Nagaoka, about 300 km northwest from Tokyo. The Shinkansen reaches a speed of about 320 km/h. Nagaoka will be our starting point for our visits to the koi breeders in the mountains of the prefecture Niigata near Ojiya.
We will split into two groups of 20 people each to visit the most famous and best koi breeders in the north of Japan.
We will have the opportunity to ask the breeders questions, to test the water and to order koi. At lunch time we will drive to Nagaoka to the well-known koi museum, before we visit some more koi breeders.
The following day we will be flying to the Ryukyu Island, leading us 2500 km to the south, where the research program will start. There the coral reefs, which are situated around the island Ishigaki, are our destination.
The reefs are in a good condition and we want to find out whether the water values mirror this optimal condition. We will go in large boats to the surrounding reefs.
Whereas one half of the participants (team 1) will be under way diving and snorkelling in the reefs for two days, the other half (team 2) will visit the neighbouring island Iriomote. After two days the teams will change over so that there are never too many participants at the same place.
During the diving and snorkelling we will see plenty of sea snakes, mantas, rare slugs and some endemic fish species which are only to be found at the southern Ryukyu islands. With a bit of luck we will find the rare Wrought-Iron Butterflyfish Chaetodon daedalma.
The tropical island Iriomote, completely covered by jungle, offers a unique opportunity to study crystal-clear rivers which flow through small rapids with increasing salinity into the mangrove areas of the sea.
All participants will be able to observe the changing fauna while snorkelling and to correlate it with the respective salinity.
In the brackish water we will be able to find, among others, monos and rare blowfish! The lower the salinity, the more beautiful Stiphodon gobies are to be seen.
The fewer predators there are, the more shrimps. Long-arm shrimps as large as 30 cm live fearlessly in the last clear water puddle at the foot of the waterfall.
The shrimps can also be found in small tributaries. But their frequency clearly increases when fewer large fish are in the river section.
Next to the river terrarium enthusiasts will also get their money's worth: metallic beetles huddled in a group, lizards and beautiful spiders galore, all offer the ideal background for biotope research onshore. And of course we’ll be looking out for the largest terrestrial crab in the world: the palm thief, which is also to be found there.
The 14th JBL Expedition will take place in October 2019. The tour price will be approx. € 4800.