Is It Illegal to Eat Koi Fish in Japan?

Many people are curious whether it is illegal to eat koi fish in Japan. The answer is an emphatic No. Although Koi fish are prevalent and aren’t threatened with extinction, you are not allowed to have a taste of them in Japan and many other Asian countries.

In Asian traditions, a koi fish is a sign of good fortune and luck. They are believed to bring good luck to anyone who comes in contact with them. Although it’s not illegal to eat koi fish in Japan, it’s best to respect their tradition and give the fish the honor it truly deserves!

General Characteristics of Koi Fish 

Koi fish are a group of fish that live in freshwater lakes in Asia. They are members of the family called Cyprinidae carp and the genus Carassius. They are usually about 3 to 5 inches long and are known for being very colorful. It is normal for koi fish to have distinctive colors on their bodies. They are typically silver, grey, pink, purple, blue, yellow, orange, red, or bright green.

Koi fish are mostly round in shape with a flat tail. Generally speaking, Koi fish in Japan are omnivores, meaning they eat algae, plants, insects, and even tiny animals. They are simple to keep in ponds and aquariums. And since they are very active day and night, they must be fed daily.

Perfect nutrition for Koi fish includes plenty of fresh brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms, and flaky food. Also, they need to drink plenty of fresh, clean water. However, they shouldn’t be exposed to freezing water. Koi fish are susceptible to fluctuations in temperature and can quickly die when exposed to temperatures below the freezing point.

What It Feels Like to Eat Koi Fish from Japan

Koi fish look like carp, a widely distributed fish found in almost every State. Carp are cheap and readily available to eat. People who have had the opportunity to eat koi fish say they taste oily and nuttier than carp.

Some people think that it is dangerous to eat koi fish, but they taste just like common carp. Koi meat contains more mercury than other kinds of fish, and if consumed for a long time, it can be highly toxic to humans. In other words, you can eat koi fish if you want, but it is not recommended that you consume them, especially in Japan. 

Health Benefits of Eating Koi Fish in Japan

While it’s not recommended to eat koi fish frequently, it comes with a handy of healthy benefits for your body. Below are some of the health benefits that will make you want to eat koi fish.

1. Rich in Nutrients

Scientists have proven that koi fish contains 20% of proteins. Other essential nutrients include Vitamin A, B2, B1, K, E, C, D3, magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, calcium, fluoride, iodine, potassium, selenium, sodium, manganese, and copper. It’s incredible as we all know the importance of these nutrients in our bodies. 

2. Helps In Blood Production and Revival of Muscles

Koi fish is a good source of protein and good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows that Omega 3 fatty acids are great for repairing muscle and improving blood circulation. 

Omega 3 fatty acids are also essential in maintaining your heart health. What’s more, Koi fish is rich in Vitamin B12, which is vital in maintaining a healthy nervous system and producing red blood cells.


How much is koi fish?

The price of koi fish varies depending on whether you buy them young or mature, or if they are very vibrant or dull, weak or strong, etc. When a koi is healthy, it can cost anywhere from $20 to $85, depending on the breed. It’s possible to find scarce koi fish that may cost you above $10,000, depending on their size and rarity.

Why is Koi fish not commonly eaten?

Koi fish are often kept as pets, so people have a tough time imagining what the taste might be like. They think that the texture and taste are disgusting and weird. Not to forget, koi fish aren’t that cheap. The price range of between 50 and 80 dollars for just one fish is slightly expensive for a simple snack.

Do koi fish feed on other fish?

Koi fish are very friendly and gentle fish. They enjoy swimming and playing with other fish. Some koi are omnivores and will eat smaller fish to keep them alive. If you have too many fish in the pond or there isn’t enough food, koi fish will eat other fish that are smaller or their siblings to help them live longer and help them to survive. You must provide koi fish with the necessary care and food. Many brands of koi fish food are available online and in pet stores.

Why is Koi fish in Japan so important?

Well, koi fish in Japan is an excellent symbol for several good qualities. As its popularly known for its swimming ability (opposite direction to currents), koi fish is regarded as a symbol of strength, patience, success, and courage.

The Takeaway

People have been eating carp and koi fish for a long time. So, you’re not committing a crime by eating koi fish. However, do it with restrictions. Just ensure that there are no ingredients that could cause harm to your health and that you have cooked it properly before you eat it. But if you’re in Japan, you’ll want to manage your cravings for koi fish as you might just step on other people’s toes, culturally speaking.

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