Pacific Asia Museum

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46 North Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, California 91101
Open Wednesday through Sunday 10am to 6pm
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USC Pacific Asia Museum

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Meet the Koi


Spend time in Pacific Asia Museum’s Courtyard Garden, and chances are you will glimpse our most famous residents: Yin Ying and Koko. They are ornamental domesticated carp, known most commonly as “koi” – a shortened version of their full Japanese name “nishikigoi” or “brocaded carp.”

Look for a white fish with large orangey-red markings. Koi with this coloration are kōhaku, one of the first varieties to be established in 19th century Japan. Our kōhaku is known as Koko.

Yin Ying can be easily identified by her long, trailing tail and fins. These characteristics, along with her long “whiskers” mark her as a “butterfly” koi, a relatively recent variety created by breeding traditional koi with Indonesian longfin river carp. While we may consider her a star, the dramatic differences in fin to body ratio and coloration have kept butterfly koi out of traditional competitions.

If you are visiting in the winter, the fish may be barely visible, underneath the bridge. This is because koi slow down during colder weather - they barely eat, barely move, and stay towards the bottom of the pond where it is warmer.

Most koi live 20-30 years, but with care they can live to be 100. Thank you for helping our fish live long, happy, healthy lives by not throwing anything into their pond!