- Basic Information
Overview: Branded Wagyu That Has Won “Wagyu Olympic”
There is a wagyu contest in Japan called “Zenkoku Wagyu Noryoku Kyoshinkai” (全国和牛能力共進会 meaning National Wagyu Competence Show). It is often referred to as “Wagyu Olympic” since it is held only every five years; the last Wagyu Olympic was held in 2017. Hida beef has won in this prestigious contest and has been regarded as one of the best wagyu in Japan.
Hida beef has also won many regional contests including “Kinki Tokai Hokuriku Rengo Gyuniku Kyoshinkai” (近畿東海北陸連合肉牛共進会 meaning Kinki Tokai Hokuriku Union Beef Show), which most prestigeous branded wagyu in Japan including Kobe beef, Matsusaka beef, and Omi beef also compete. Meat quality of Hida beef is definitely one of the top in Japan.
Even though there is NO requirement that Hida beef must be Tajima beef (potential Kobe beef), the root of Hida beef is one Tajima bull called “Anpukugo (安福号)” which had contributed the greatness of its meat quality. Many calves of Anpukugo has also have been regarded as one of the best breeding bulls, and its calves have won the competitions.
How to Identify High Quality Hida Beef
Hida beef can be identified by a Hida beef label*. The color of the label represents the meat quality grade. The gold label, which shows that its meat quality grade is 5, is the best.
Learn more: Meat Grading System
|Meat Quality Grade||Color of the Label||Rough Distribution|
*You can see the label at http://www.hidagyu-gifu.com/eng/ (external link).
In addition, information of Hida beef including the meat grade can be searched at http://www.hidagyu-gifu.com/search.html (external link, Japanese only) by the 10-digit identification number that all Japanese wagyu has.
Where Can You Eat Authentic Hida beef?
Hida Beef Brand Promotion Council, the council that manages Hida beef brand, has the list of restaurants that serve best Hida beef.
You can search restaurants from here: http://www.hidagyu-gifu.com/eng/shop.php (external link)
The restaurants in the list must fulfill one of the following requirements and be certified by the council.
- The restaurant serves mainly beef, and must purchase at least three Hida beef cattle a year that has meat quality grade “5” from certified Hida beef dealer
- The restaurant purchases Hida beef from certified Hida beef dealer and always serves beef that has meat quality grade “5”
This list includes restaurants out of Japan; there may be a restaurant close to where you live!
Number of Certified Restaurants (As of Feb 28th, 2019)
|Country||Number of Restaurants|
|Outside of Japan||42|
In 1981, Anpukugo, Tajima bull known to be the father of Hida beef, was brought from Hyogo Prefecture. Calves of Anpukugo had great meat quality. It was around this time when the name “Hida beef” has been used. Hida Beef Brand Promotion Council was established in 1988.
In 2002, Hida beef won the 8th Zenkoku Wagyu Noryoku Kyoshinkai (全国和牛能力共進会 meaning National Wagyu Competence Show), commonly known by “Wagyu Olympic” in Japan, in two categories (meat quality and breeding). Hida beef also won 9th Wagyu Olympic again in the meat quality category.
Although its meat quality was among the best in Japan, the Hida Beef Brand Promotion Council struggled to raise the brand recognition. It was because the number of Hida beef was few since only beef with meat quality 5 could be named Hida beef then. To raise the brand recognition, the council decided change meat quality qualification from 5 to 3 or above of in 2002. As a result, amount of Hida beef increased and opportunities to be exposed around Japan.
Hida beef has been exported outside of Japan since 2008 to Hong Kong, Singapore etc., but number was few because the meat processing plant that met global standard was not near by. When meat processing plant in Gifu (Hida region) was modified to meet the global standard in 2010, the export increased. Hida beef has been export to Thai, Macau, EU (since 2015), Vietnam, US, Australia (since 2018) etc.
Hida beef is one of the best wagyu in Japan, eaten around the world!
Sightseeing in Hida, Gifu, Japan
Hida region is on a popular sightseeing route called the “Dragon Route (Shoryudo)” and is especially popular among visitors from outside of Japan because it has many old towns with historical buildings. Gassho-style houses in Shirakawago, are registered as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Main sightseeing spot that attracts visitors from outside of Japan is many Japanese historical buildings from Edo era (1603 to 1868) remaining in the old town of Hida Takayama. Miyagawa morning market is held every morning, where you can purchase local vegetables and souvenirs.
For more information, visit Hida Takayama City website:
Hida Furukawa is only 16 minutes away from Hida Takayama by train, and it also has old town with traditional architecture. Traditional Japanese storages with white walls stand along Setogawa Canal, which many beautiful carps swim from mid-April to mid-November.
For more information, visit Hida City website:
Shirakawago is a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site “Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama” registered in December 1995 and is also on the Dragon Route. Gassho-style houses in Shirakawago are very historical houses with steep thatched roof.
For more information, visit Shirakawa Village official website:
Gero Hot Spring (Onsen)
Gero Hot Spring is one of the Three Great Hot Spring in Japan. Since its water is alkaline which has cleansing properties, your skin gets clearer by bathing in Gero Hot Spring. You can also enjoy “hot spring hopping” and try different baths by purchasing hot spring pass.
For more information, visit Gero Onsen official website:
Map of Hida
|Name||English: Hida Beef
|Breed||Japanese Black (Kuroge)|
|Raising Place||Gifu Prefecture must be longest (raised by registered member)|
Learn more: Meat Grading System
|Age||14 months or above|
|Other||Must be certified by Hida Beef Brand Promotion Council|
|Number||About 10,000 cattle per year|
|Association||Hida Beef Brand Promotion Council