Few countries compare to the foodie scene you’ll find in Japan.
In a country where delicious cuisine reigns and mind-blowing treats are found on practically every corner, it takes something pretty remarkable to beat out the competition.
So, with all of that said, what is the one must-eat food you’ll definitely want to experience in Japan?
Without doubt, all of the aforementioned snacks are worth sinking your teeth into, but there’s one thing available in Japan that is heads and shoulders above its competition.
Whilst in Japan, you absolutely have to sample high quality Japanese steak!
Everything You Need to Know About Wagyu Beef
Kobe Beef in Japan – The Best of the Best
A premium product, only 3,000 Kobe cows are produced annually; this is a drop in the bucket of Japan’s beef production (just 0.06% in fact), so it’s no wonder that it’s in high demand. To make matters worse, it’s entirely possible that an animal will be cared for for a number of years, only to be rejected under stringent requirements at the last minute. Unsurprisingly, Kobe that does make the grade commands high prices.
Having enjoyed a fantastic meal in Tokyo though, we can unreservedly recommend splashing out once whilst you’re in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Wagyu Beef in Japan
Wagyu translates to ‘Japanese cattle’, so it makes sense that the name wagyu is given to all beef that is bred in Japan (or is raised based on the stringent Japanese requirements).
As mentioned before, Kobe beef is a premium strand of wagyu, but you will find many other examples of incredible wagyu beef in Japan.
How Are Steaks in Japan Graded?
Steak is graded in Japan using a combination of letters and numbers.
If you’re going to spend good money on steak (which you will need to expect), you’ll want to know that you’re truly getting a premium product; this labelling system will help ensure exactly that.
Grading is carried about by an independent meat grading association and is based on both yield and quality. The best yielding cattle (which means they produce more cuts than others), are graded with an A, which is then followed by B and C.
Most importantly for consumers though, the corresponding numbers relate directly to the quality of the cut. The lowest grade is 1 whilst the highest is 5.
In practical terms, A4 and A5 steak has incredible fat marbling (unlike anything we’d ever seen before), perfect texture and beautiful colour. And it tastes incredible!
In fact, anything above an A3 is literally off the charts when it comes to steak classification in the US.
We are talking about incredibly high levels of quality when it comes to these Japanese steaks.
Where to Eat Wagyu Beef in Japan
Knowing that Japanese wagyu is top of your foodie wish-list is one thing but where is the best place to try it?
Without a shadow of a doubt, Japan is the best place to dig into Kobe beef; but where exactly should you head?
The city of Kobe obviously comes to mind, but it is also possible to find beef that is just as fresh and fantastic in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.
Eating quality beef in Japan is quite the investment, so you’ll be unlikely to do so at every meal. Instead, we suggest you do it once and do it right (though we can’t guarantee that will feel like enough!)
The first restaurant to create and serve teppanyaki steak, Misono is celebrated across Japan – speaking from personal experience, it is definitely the place to head for the best beef you will ever eat.
Misono: The Original Teppanyaki Steak Restaurant
First established in 1945, Misono now have five restaurants strategically located around Japan. As the first teppanyaki restaurant in the world, they don’t just cook a good steak, they’ve led the entire industry to where it is now!
Perfect to celebrate a special occasion or to treat yourself whilst on holiday, we were pleasantly surprised to see both tourists and locals enjoying incredible food when we enjoyed a meal at their Ginza branch in Tokyo.
All beef served in Misono is either grade A4 or grade A5. This is seriously good steak!
When you first arrive, you’ll be seated together alongside your professional chef and his ‘teppan’ grill. It is there, at the iron hot plate, that you will get a first-hand show as your meal is expertly prepared.
We opted for a steak and seafood set, which is the perfect way to sample all of the highlights on the menu.
Should you be travelling on a budget though, we whole-heartedly recommend the steak set – for us, it was the highlight of the evening.
Sign Me Up, I Want to Try Japanese Wagyu; What Should I Order?
Whilst in Misono, you will of course want to try their wagyu steak, but we were excited to find out that they offer so much delicious food outside of the main menu attraction.
First though, let’s take a look at their steak. After all, it is the reason you’ll be paying them a visit!
Kobe Filet, Wagyu Filet Mignon (Chateaubriand) and Kobe Sirloin; Which Should I Choose?
Though each and every steak that we sampled was beyond incredible, our personal picks were the wagyu filet mignon and the Kobe sirloin. Both of which were melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Having been aged for a minimum of two months, and with a fantastic fat distribution throughout the meat, these cuts will be the most tender steaks you’ll ever try.
We guarantee it.
Both the taste and texture were unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before, and living in New Zealand, we’ve had our share of quality meat.
Other Menu Highlights
Lobster with a Butter and Liver Sauce
The perfect introduction to our meal, Nathan absolutely loved the lobster starter. Fresh, light and perfectly seasoned, this local delicacy is sure to please any seafood lover.
Miso Soup with Lobster
Served in combination with the lobster entree, the miso lobster soup is a stunning twist on this Japanese classic.
Garlic Fried Rice
Though we were full and more than satisfied, we were told we just had to try the garlic fried rice.
Let us say right now that this is the best possible advice. It is unbelievably good!
How on earth our chef got white rice with garlic to be so incredibly sweet and tasty, I’ll never know.
Don’t question it though, just eat it.
Misono: The Best Beef You’ll Ever Eat!
Before even travelling to Japan, we’d been told just how incredible the food scene was.
Touching down, we made a real effort to sample food at every opportunity and even amongst all of the incredible meals, this was the one that truly stood out.
Whilst spending time in Kobe, Osaka, Tokyo or Kyoto be sure to include a trip to Misono; the original creators of teppanyaki in Japan!
Thank you to Global Daily Japan for taking us as their guests to Misono. All thoughts, as always, are our own.