What Are the Top 5 Types of Wagyu Beef?
A lot of people think that Wagyu Japanese beef is a single type of meat, but it actually comes from 4 different species of cow.
The most common Wagyu cows are the Kuroge (black) wagyu and the Akaushi (red/brown) wagyu. Wagyu beef also differs depending on where in Japan the cows were raised.
For example, Kobe cows raised in the Hyogo prefecture are called Tajima-gyu and are among the highest quality meats in the world. Wagyu meat is characterized by its distinct marbling texture and coloring.
So we want to talk about the different types of wagyu beef you can find all around Japan.
Mizusako Farm, Kagoshima Prefecture
This particular farm is one of the most well known Wagyu farms in the world and is located in the southern part of Kyushu, Japan.
The farm has a natural environment that greatly improves the meat quality of their Wagyu cows. It is one of the largest family-owned farms in the country and ships over 700 heads of cattle per month. The characteristic robust red Wagyu they are famous for comes through the well-balanced diet that each cow gets.
Mizusako cows are fed a specially made, high-protein grain feed mixture that contains soybean, sweet potato, and other vegetables high in protein.
The result is that Mizusako meat has more unsaturated fatty acids than other types of wagyu.
Hida-gyu, Gifu Prefecture/Ocean Farm & Matsusaka Wagyu, Mie Prefecture
We love these two wagyu types so much we could not decide between them.
Hida beef from the Gifu prefecture comes from the Japanese black cow and is born and raised in the Gifu prefecture. Hida beef has become nationally famous for its high grading standard.
Hida beef features the marbling texture on the meat but also on the fat coating. Hida beef is most often sirloin cuts and they also offer filets and thinly sliced beef for Japanese-style sukiyaki or shabu-shabu.
Matsusaka wagyu beef, on the other hand, hails from the small rural region of the Mie prefecture. This type of wagyu is one of the most famous in the country, and thousands of people make yearly trips to the region just to get a taste of this legendary beef.
Matsusaka beef is fed a strict diet for over 3 years and there are very strict standards over meat distribution. Matsusaka cows are each given a unique, 10-digit ID number for verifying their lineage and genetics.
The result is a versatile cut of meat that can be thinly sliced or eaten as a steak.
Sanuki, Olive-Fed Wagyu, Hata Farm, Kagawa Prefecture
Olive-fed wagyu hails from Hata farms in the Kagawa prefecture and has been produced by the region for over 1,300 years.
The climate of the Kagawa prefecture is great for growing olives, which they incorporate into the basic feed for their cows. The result is a distinctive beef flavor and texture that incorporates the earthy tones of olive with excellent fat marbling.
Kawaguchi Farm, Sendai-gyu, Miyagi Prefecture
Sendai beef was born from livestock breeding in the early 1900s and has since won several national awards for beef quality and taste.
Sendai beef is produced only in the Myagi prefecture, which produces over 15,000 heads of cattle a year. Sendai cows are fed with a special rice flour mixture and fermented fertilizer to increase fat marbling content.
Sendai wagyu is also known for being graded to some of the highest standards of all wagyu. The deep flavor of sendai beef is mostly eaten plain with salt and pepper, but also goes well with soy sauce.
Hokkaido Snow Beef, Chateau Uenae
Hokkaido snow beef is considered by many to be the rarest wagyu in Japan and only comes from the snowy northern island of Hokkaido.
Snow beef is all produced by one person, Fuji Terauchi “The Wagyu Meister,” and comes from the classic Kuroge black cow. Snow beef is praised as it has a higher intramuscular fat content than other kinds of wagyu and even melts like butter on your tongue.
The cold climate of Hokkaido gives the meat a unique sweet taste that you cannot find on other types of wagyu. Snow beef is so rare that there are currently only 4 places you can get it in the world outside of the island, 3 of which are in the United States.
Wagyu is a cultural tradition in Japan and is quickly becoming popular around the world.
These types of wagyu from regions in Japan represent some of the finest culinary knowledge in human history and are a must-have delicacy for any food enthusiast. If you are interested in wagyu, feel free to browse our selection of high quality wagyu cuts available for delivery.