Friday, February 26, 2016

Wagyu Japanese Beef

Wagyu Japanese beef, the most sought after land animal meat in the world, usually have similar characteristics of being very tender and having extreme level of intramuscular fat. Wagyu is a general term used for high grade Japanese breed beef, which usually covers famous "brand" names such as Kobe, Matsusaka, and Omi beef. I am dedicating this blog post to some of my best Wagyu experiences and Wagyu restaurants in Tokyo and other parts of Japan.
Best Tokyo Japanese Wagyu. Beef, Steak, restaurant, Kobe, Matsuzaka, Matsusaka, Hida, Miyasaki, Omi, A5, Price, Yakiniku, Shabu. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Wagyu Japanese Beef, the most tender and juicy beef in the world



- To read about my recommendations of affordable, Reasonable, Convenient hotels in Tokyo, visit: Affordable Cheap Reasonable Hotels in Tokyo
- To read about my recommendations of affordable and reasonable hotels in OSAKA, visit: Osaka Reasonable Affordable Hotels
- To read about my recommendations of reasonable, affordable, and convenient hotels in KYOTO, visit: Kyoto reasonable, affordable, and convenient Hotels
- To read about the most famous ramen franchise in the world, visit: The origin of Ippudo Ramen: Quest for world's first Hakata Ippudo restaurant
- To read about my recommendations of best food in Tokyo, visit Best food in Tokyo Japan



The brand name beef is usually defined by the areas of the cattle farm or the area where the cattle was slaughtered. There had been confusions between Japanese raised and foreign raised Wagyu. To avoid complicated debate of the definition, I will focus this blog post on the Wagyu Japanese beef experiences I had while traveling in Japan as well as the Japanese Wagyu imported into the US. To avoid confusion while traveling in Japan, I recommend travelers to visit reliable Wagyu restaurants in Japan and order the dishes that clearly state the name of the brand name beef you desire. 

Japanese beef grading system
The system is based on the quality and not the cuts of the meat. Japanese beef grading system is based on a system of one letter (a, b, and c) and one number (1-5) The letter stands for yield of edible meat per cow, the number score stands for the quality of meat in texture, color, marbling,  and characteristic of fat. For example: A5 would be the highest grade of beef in Japan.

When compared with USDA beef grading system in the US, which consists of choice, select, and prime categories, the American system is based on the tenderness of the lean meat and the level of fat marbling. Average brand named grade Wagyu usually easily surpasses the highest grade of USDA prime beef.

There are many ways to enjoy Waguy: Teppanyaki or grilled steak, Sukiyaki, Shabu-Shabu, Sushi, and Yakiniku (self service grilled BBQ), etc.

Most famous beef in the world; it is strictly defined by a specific breed of cattle with high beef marbling standard index score (BMS), slaughtered and processed in Hyogo/Kobe area, high meat quality score and many other conditions. I have dedicated a blog post "Kobe Beef in Kobe" to the most beloved Japanese beef in the world. 
Best Kobe Beef Restaurants in Tokyo
Tajimaya - Specializing in Dry Aged Beef
RRR Kobe Beef Steak


Hida Wagyu Beef 飛騨牛
During my trip in 2012, I stopped by Shinjuku Tsukitei Kaiseki Main Restaurant because the restaurant offered lunch special for Hida beef cuisine. My friend and I ordered regular shabu shabu and sukiyaki. Shabu-Shabu was self serviced and sukiyaki was served by the kimono lady inside of a traditionally decorated restaurant. The flavor of the beef and the authentic shabu/sukiyaki experience were simply amazing. The lunch special cost about 6000 to 7000 yen for the two orders. 
Best Tokyo Japanese Wagyu. Beef, Steak, restaurant, Kobe, Matsuzaka, Matsusaka, Hida, Miyasaki, Omi, A5, Price, Yakiniku, Shabu. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Hida Wagyu Beef Restaurant in Shinjuku Kabukicho, Tokyo

Best Tokyo Japanese Wagyu. Beef, Steak, restaurant, Kobe, Matsuzaka, Matsusaka, Hida, Miyasaki, Omi, A5, Price, Yakiniku, Shabu. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Hida Wagyu Japanese Beef that melts in your mouth
Restaurant Info:
Tsukitei Main Restaurant 
Eiwa Dai-1 Bldg. 4F, 2-26-1 Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo . TEL 03-3209-9681
月亭 本店新宿
〒160-0021  東京都新宿区歌舞伎町2-26-1 永和第1ビル 4F

Other Hida Wagyu Beef Restaurant in Tokyo





"Generic" Wagyu 和牛 黒毛和牛
Some of the Wagyu beef have not earned the status of having a region's name attached to it. However, these generic Wagyu are usually highly marbled and sometimes exceed the quality of the famous brand beef.

- Jojoen 叙々苑
Jojoen is one of the higher end yakiniku BBQ franchise restaurant in Japan. I visited Jojoen in Shinjuku in 2014. Jojoen restaurant was served by Kimono waitress in modern decorated restaurant. One of their special dish is Yukke, aka beef tartare.
Best Tokyo Japanese Wagyu. Beef, Steak, restaurant, Kobe, Matsuzaka, Matsusaka, Hida, Miyasaki, Omi, A5, Price, Yakiniku, Shabu. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Wagyu Japanese Kalbi Beef at Jojoen Yakiniku Restaurant in Shinjuku, Tokyo
Best Tokyo Japanese Wagyu. Beef, Steak, restaurant, Kobe, Matsuzaka, Matsusaka, Hida, Miyasaki, Omi, A5, Price, Yakiniku, Shabu. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Yukke or Yukhoe Wagyu Japanese Beef Tartare at Jojoen Yakiniku, Shinjuku Tokyo
Restaurant Info:
Jojoen Shinjukukomagekijomae
1-18-8 Kabukicho, Shinjuku, Tokyo; TEL +81 3-3200-8989
叙々苑 新宿歌舞伎町店
東京都新宿区歌舞伎町1-18-8 モナミビル9F

Other Jojoen restaurants in Tokyo
Jojoen Roppongi



Gyukaku is a more reasonable Yakiniku BBQ franchise restaurants that offer a more affordable options for Wagyu dining. The restaurant offers limited selection of Wagyu beef in a casual environment.
Best Tokyo Japanese Wagyu. Beef, Steak, restaurant, Kobe, Matsuzaka, Matsusaka, Hida, Miyasaki, Omi, A5, Price, Yakiniku, Shabu. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Wagyu (black plate) on the left is clearly much fattier than non-Wagyu on the right (white plate), Gyukaku, Shibuya Tokyo

Best Tokyo Japanese Wagyu. Beef, Steak, restaurant, Kobe, Matsuzaka, Matsusaka, Hida, Miyasaki, Omi, A5, Price, Yakiniku, Shabu. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Signature shape of Tongs at Gyukaku Yakiniku Restaurant, Shibuya, Tokyo
Restaurant Info:
Gyukaku Shibuya 3rd
1-22-9 Jinnan | B1F Sankusu Bldg., Shibuya 150-0041, Tokyo. TEL +81 3-5784-4129
牛角 渋谷 3rd
〒150-0041  東京都渋谷区神南1-22-9 サンクスビルB1

Other Gyukaku restaurants in Tokyo
Matsusaka Wagyu Beef 松阪牛
In November 2015, I traveled in Japan using the JR pass. I took a day trip to Ise and stopped by Mastsusaka for Matsusaka beef. Matsusaka beef is perhaps the second most famous brand name Wagyu beef in the world/Japan. Thanks to the staff of tourism office next to the train station, I was able to obtained helpful information about restaurants and prices of the famous beef. I managed to go to a well-known restaurant after being turned down by two other restaurants for being a solo guest. The prices were steep, therefore I chose the more affordable steak meal set for about 7000 yen. The taste of Matsusaka beef is of robust beef flavor with a very nice aroma.
Best Tokyo Japanese Wagyu. Beef, Steak, restaurant, Kobe, Matsuzaka, Matsusaka, Hida, Miyasaki, Omi, A5, Price, Yakiniku, Shabu. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Gyugin Honten Matsusaka Wagyu Beef Restaurant. Matsusaka Japapn

Best Tokyo Japanese Wagyu. Beef, Steak, restaurant, Kobe, Matsuzaka, Matsusaka, Hida, Miyasaki, Omi, A5, Price, Yakiniku, Shabu. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Famous melt-in-your-mouth Matsusaka Wagyu Beef. Marble to perfection.
Restaurant Info:
Gyugin Honten
1618 Uomachi, Matsusaka 515-0082, Mie Prefecture. TEL +81 598-21-0404
牛銀本店
三重県松阪市魚町1618

Matsusaka Wagyu Beef restaurants in Tokyo
Steak House Satou
Rokkasen





Omi Wagyu Beef 近江牛
This brand name Wagyu beef is perhaps the third most famous Wagyu beef in Japan. A 30-minutes of train ride from Kyoto will take you to the famous restaurant in Omi area. Consider doing Amiyaki (Net BBQ style) when you are traveling solo. Lunch set cost around 5000 yen.
Best Tokyo Japanese Wagyu. Beef, Steak, restaurant, Kobe, Matsuzaka, Matsusaka, Hida, Miyasaki, Omi, A5, Price, Yakiniku, Shabu. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Reasonable prices for Omi Wagyu at  Kadoman Omi Beef Restaurant. Omi area Japan.

Best Tokyo Japanese Wagyu. Beef, Steak, restaurant, Kobe, Matsuzaka, Matsusaka, Hida, Miyasaki, Omi, A5, Price, Yakiniku, Shabu. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Omi Wagyu Beef, Pumpkin, and Cabbage at Kadoman Omi Beef Restaurant. Omi area, Japan.
Restaurant Info:
Kadoman
1-7-35 Chuo, Otsu, Shiga Prefecture. TEL +81 77-525-2989
かど萬
滋賀県大津市中央1-7-35

Omi Wagyu Beef restaurants in Tokyo





US Kobe "Style" American Kobe Beef
Real Japanese Kobe beef is rarely exported to North America, while US Kobe Style beef is gaining its popularity. Consider purchasing such steak from online beef store or specialty supermarket in major cities of the US.
*Japanese Kobe Beef Export record



American Kobe Style Beef (online steak shop or specialty restaurants)
Best Tokyo Japanese Wagyu. Beef, Steak, restaurant, Kobe, Matsuzaka, Matsusaka, Hida, Miyasaki, Omi, A5, Price, Yakiniku, Shabu. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
American Kobe Style Wagyu Beef
Online Store Info:
Chicago Steak Company



Imported Wagyu from Japan to the US (Southern California)
Miyazaki Beef 宮崎牛
Best Tokyo Japanese Wagyu. Beef, Steak, restaurant, Kobe, Matsuzaka, Matsusaka, Hida, Miyasaki, Omi, A5, Price, Yakiniku, Shabu. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Imported Miyazaki Wagyu Beef in the US
Store Info: 
Tokyo Central Supermarket
1620 W Redondo Beach Blvd
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 464-8888





My opinion about Wagyu and Kobe beef
I have always reminded travelers that there is no reasonable price for Kobe or other name brand beef; if the menu does not state the term "Kobe beef" or the brand name, the beef probably does not qualify for the conditions that qualify real Kobe or brand name beef in Japan.

After thoughts:
- consumption of fatty beef is unhealthy; therefore, I recommend travelers to spend money on higher quality of Wagyu beef rather than on larger quantity.
- similar taste among all brand name Wagyu or generic Wagyu
- no reasonable price.
- consider buying Wagyu at supermarket in the greater Tokyo areas or Tsukiji outer market and cook it at your hostel or apartment kitchen.
- brand name beef will be at premium prices while generic Wagyu are sometimes equally delicious yet at a fraction of the Kobe or brand name Wagyu beef price.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...