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Apr 20, 2023

FOOD NEWSTajima Wagyu: The “Kobe Beef” that Started a Global Craze

Known commonly as “Kobe Beef,” Tajima Wagyu from northern Hyogo Prefecture is world renowned for good reason. Exploring prized Tajima Wagyu beef’s past, present and future.

Apr 20, 2023

Tajima Wagyu’s heritage and history

Tajima Wagyu cattle have been raised for over 1,200 years in Tajima, an area bordering the Japan Sea in Hyogo Prefecture’s north. At that time the cattle were largely used to carry the or plow the rice fields, and the culture of eating beef and meat didn’t exist in Japan. 

Tajima cattle are characterized by their marbling and ultrafine intramuscular fat. They weren’t genetically engineered for this purpose, but rather arrived at this state naturally through their lives as work cattle. In essence, the roots of the delicious marbling of all Wagyu can be traced directly to Tajima.

Kobe Beef became famous around 150 years ago, at the time of the opening of the port of Yokohama in the Meiji era. International visitors arriving to Japan caused demand to spike, and Wagyu beef from Tajima was received very well. Tajima Wagyu’s pedigree and genetic lineage have been preserved since its ancient origins to the present day.

Order the Kobe Beef like Shaquille O’Neal

Kobe Beef is ubiquitous worldwide, and Kobe Bryant’s existence probably helped the word “Kobe” become even more commonplace in the US. Yet in Japan it’s actually called Tajima Wagyu – top-grade Japanese beef, selected carefully under strict Japanese quality control standards, ensuring an exquisite dining experience. 

The fatty marbling melts in your mouth and the surreal texture and mouthfeel keeps diners coming back. It is rich in oleic acid and nutrients and raised organically, so it’s good for your health in moderation, too. 

Although “Kobe Beef” will remain a standard moving forward, please use this opportunity to remember that Wagyu comes from all across Japan, and Tajima – or Kobe – is simply the progenitor.

Wagyu worldwide – what to expect moving forward

Exports for Tajima Wagyu started in just 2012. It’s currently exported to 24 countries and regions, including the EU. The bronze Kobe Beef statuette serves as proof of official Tajima Wagyu pedigree, so make sure to check for it when purchasing or enjoying Tajima Wagyu.

Tajima Wagyu has partnered with Hyogo Prefecture to help global consumers source authentic Tajima Wagyu from Japan. As part of this effort, they’ve created a system that allows anyone in the world to purchase genuine Tajima or Kobe cattle.

Further, Tajima Wagyu has been passed down through the generations, thanks to many people who want to continue this tradition and pedigree. The Wagyu industry needs young people to inherit traditions and keep them alive, ensuring that Wagyu’s heritage thrives for many generations to come.