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. After visiting the koi breeders there will be some cultural sights on the agenda. Before we continue on the high-speed train Shinkansen to Nikko, we will travel to the foot of Fudschijama. In Nikko we will admire old Japanese temples, we will witness a genuine tea ceremony and visit shrines which are situated at lakes and a waterfall with ice-cold mountain stream. Participants who are insensitive to the cold might like to take a look under the water surface to observe the often endemic fauna of these places.
Afterwards we will be flying to the Ryukyu Island, leading us 2,500 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 an extraordinarily 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. 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. Applications open on the JBL homepage in December 2017: Japan Expedition