What is Wagyu?

Wagyu is a Japanese word, 和牛 (wa-gyu), meaning Japanese cattle. Wagyu is native breeds of cattle in Japan. It was eaten only in Japan before, but as its melting beef attracted people from all over the world, wagyu breed is now raised around the world.

Learn more: Definition of Wagyu


Wagyu: beef that melts in your mouth

Wagyu is known for its marbling, the white fat flecks you can see in the meat, which lead to tenderness and juiciness. In Japan, marbling is called サシ (sashi), and high marbling beef is called 霜降り肉 (shimofuri-niku, meaning “frosted beef”) because of how it looks. Compared to other types of beef, wagyu contains more monounsaturated fat which melts at lower temperature. This is why wagyu is said to “melt” in your mouth.

Assorted Wagyu


Definition of wagyu: wagyu you eat outside of Japan may be non-pure, non-Japanese wagyu

Wagyu is native breeds in Japan, and there are strict rules to be named 和牛 (wagyu) in Japan to protect consumers from buying overpriced fake wagyu.

In Japan, wagyu must be 100% breed of one of the four Japanese cattle breeds, or 100% mix of the Japanese cattle breeds. On the other hand, outside of Japan, there are beef called wagyu that may have been mixed with other breeds; these non-pure wagyu beef cannot be called wagyu in Japan.

Be aware of this fact; wagyu you are eating may not be authentic Japanese pure wagyu!

Learn more: Definition of Wagyu