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Story Japan’s premium meat – three popular ways to enjoy the marbled delight By JNTO on 10 December 2020

Many of you would be familiar with wagyu beef, which is known for its melt-in-your-mouth quality attributing to its unique marbling that’s a hallmark of Japanese beef. Not all beef sold in Japan are recognized as ‘wagyu’ – only meat from four breeds of domestic cattle, like the Japanese Black, are worthy of the name.

The tender, fatty, umami-rich meat is synonymous with luxury. However, did you know that the meat bears many names depending on the region they’re from? There’s Kobe Beef, Matsusaka Beef, Omi Beef, and so on. These different names also become the various brand names of the beef. Their quality are graded according to Yield (either A, B or C) and Quality (from 1 to 5), so the wagyu of the best quality is A5.

Now comes the juicy tips – the ways to enjoy quality wagyu - yakiniku (grilled) and sukiyaki (simmered in broth) are just some of the many options available.


Yakiniku: feast for the eyes and tastebuds

One of the most popular ways to enjoy wagyu is yakiniku – a meal doesn’t get any fresher than having portions of quality meat grilled right at your table over a charcoal or gas brazier. The meat usually comes seasoned in flavours like salt or sauce. After grilling, you can dip in additional seasoning.

grilled wagyu beef at your table over a charcoal or gas brazier grilled wagyu beef at your table over a charcoal or gas brazier

There are a number of premium yakiniku restaurants throughout Japan, including Nikuya no Daidokoro which is a popular yakiniku chain in Tokyo that only stocks carefully-selected A4 and A5 wagyu. They have a wide variety of cuts, from short ribs and brisket to offcuts like tongue and liver. 

wagyu beef wagyu beef

Their all-you-can-eat package – either a course of 90 or 120 minutes – is by far one of the most popular choices for diners. With prices ranging from 2,480 to 4,980 yen, it is an exceptional value for free-flow of premium Japanese beef and side dishes.


For more information on yakiniku at Nikuya no Daidokoro, please visit:



Sukiyaki: simmered in sauce

Sukiyaki consists of thinly-sliced beef which is cooked at the table in a shallow iron pot with an assortment of vegetables, with a soup broth rich in flavour due to seasoning of a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. Once cooked, the slices of meat are dipped in raw egg before savouring its sweetness and umami.

Sukiyaki: simmered in sauce Sukiyaki: simmered in sauce

Matsusaka beef, a specialty of Mie prefecture, features very tender marbling that is ideal for sukiyaki. The sukiyaki here is prepared in the Kansai-style – the beef is cooked in tallow and eaten before the vegetables are added, unlike in most parts of Japan where the beef is cooked together with the vegetables.

和田金店舗全景 Wadakin inside view

Established in 1878, Wadakin is a historic sukiyaki restaurant famous for its thick-sliced premium beef specially selected from the restaurant’s own ranch. Diners get to watch the skilled yakite (attending staff) prepare the meal tableside, adding condiments to the cast iron pot to bring out the elegant flavour of the beef. 


Check out Wadakin's website for more information on sukiyaki here:


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