Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective

Kobe beef

Costing over US$100 a pound, Kobe beef is the most expensive in the world. It’s also known as Hyogo beef (Kobe city is in Hyogo prefecture). Wagyu (“Japanese cattle”) beef is another common term, but this refers to a much wider range of Japan’s beef.

Kobe cows are fed on a rich diet, including beer, giving their meat a large amount of smooth fat. This fat is spread evenly throughout the meat by giving the cows daily massages. This care and attention produces finely-marbled, tender meat, at great cost.

Kobe cows are also raised in the US, but they are usually cross-bred with American cows, so the meat is cheaper and lower-quality. To be classed as “Kobe beef”, the meat must meet strict criteria, which is why the genuine article is so expensive.

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