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Wagyu Day is dedicated to steak and meat lovers everywhere who aspire to try some of the most delicious (and most expensive!) beef in the world.

The awareness and popularity of Japanese wagyu steak has been on the rise over the past couple of decades, and one of the best ways to show appreciation for it is to learn more about this luxurious meat and celebrate on Wagyu Day!

Learn About Wagyu Beef

Besides being genetically predispositioned to even marbling of fat in the meat, one of the things that makes wagyu beef so special is the way that the cattle are treated as they are raised. These cows are raised by specialty breeders until they are around 7-10 months old and then they are sold to farmers, along with their own birth certificate!

Each cow is given a name and treated very well, allowed to roam freely in the pasture to graze. Given plenty of room in their pens, the cows grow up in a relaxed and virtually stress-free environment, which contributes to the tenderness of their meat. All of these factors, as well as a special diet, mean that wagyu cattle are delightfully happy and healthy. This, in turn, means that the meat is spectacularly delicious – and also rather expensive.

Wondering where the name “wagyu” comes from for this beef? It’s actually less specific than it might seem. In Japanese, the word for cow is “gyu” and Japanese is “wa”. Put them together and a Japanese cow is called wagyu. Now, go and share this fun little tidbit with friends in celebration of Wagyu Day!

History of Wagyu Day

Considering how long the history of Japan dates back, the history of wagyu beef is surprisingly recent. Because of cultural norms, for centuries the cattle in Japan were simply used as work animals. It wasn’t until the 1860s, when a political revolution began to normalize the eating of beef, that wagyu beef began its delectable journey.

While the history of wagyu beef dates back more than 100 years, the advent of Wagyu Day is much more recent! In fact, the day was started in 2022 when an avid steak connoisseur named Steve Haddadin introduced the concept of a day to celebrate this amazing culinary delicacy. And the only reason that the day was chosen is because June 21 is the birthday of the founder!

The purpose of Wagyu Day is to bring attention to this incredible meat and highlight the important processes that are used to produce and authenticate such a legendary beef. With approximately 40,000 wagyu cows in the United States today, the opportunity to try this beef is growing, but it is important to remember that only a few thousand of these are considered to be “pure bred”.

In addition to sourcing wagyu beef in Japan and the USA, authentic versions of this meat can also be found in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Each country has slightly different standards and associations that help ensure the quality and authenticity of the wagyu beef.

Wagyu Day Timeline

1868

Beef consumption is popularized in Japan

The political revolution, called the Meiji Restoration opens up the opportunities to eat meat. [1]

1976

Wagyu bulls are brought to the US

Four bulls are brought the US and subsequently bred with American Angus and Continental breeds. [2]

1990

Cross breeding results in four types of wagyu cattle

The best breeds of wagyu in Japan are determined to be Black, Brown, Shorthorn and Polled. [3]

1993

Americans import wagyu females

Importing some Black female wagyu cattle creates the opportunity for full-bred wagyu cattle in the United States.[4]

1997

Japan enacts an export ban

In considering the wagyu cattle to be a “national treasure” a ban is placed to completely stop exports and increases demand for wagyu beef.

How to Celebrate Wagyu Day

Make this a super special day by indulging in a melt-in-your-mouth, heaven-on-earth version of the best steak you’ve ever eaten! As if that isn’t enough reason to celebrate, check out some of these ideas for the day:

Try a Wagyu Steak or Burger

One of the best possible ways to show appreciation for and celebrate Wagyu Day is by embarking on an adventure to enjoy some wagyu beef. Of course, it’s important to do a bit of research in advance because the limited supply means that only certain restaurants will offer this rather high end item on their menu.

With the price tag at up to $250 per pound, it may be necessary to save up for a bit beforehand, and perhaps also share the plate with a friend – or two, or three. But it will be totally worth it. After all, even just one little bite of this unparalleled beef promises to, in some people’s minds, be a life-changing endeavor!

Learn More About Wagyu Beef

An important part of celebrating Wagyu Day would be to take the opportunity to learn a bit more about this beefy delicacy. Do a bit of online research or head over to the local library to find out more about what makes this delightful cattle so special. And don’t forget to share these facts with friends or family members to raise awareness for the day!

Get started with some of these facts related to wagyu beef:

  • One of the most appreciated parts of wagyu beef is the fat marbling which gives it an incredible flavor with a rich, buttery tenderness.

  • In Japan, the word used for the “savoriness” of wagyu beef is “umami”.

  • Japanese wagyu steak must go through a rigorous grading system, the highest of which is graded at A5.

  • Compared to commercial, domestic beef in the US, wagyu beef is much healthier with more essential amino acids and higher levels of monounsaturated fats.

Visit Japan for Wagyu Beef

For a select few who are interested in celebrating Wagyu Day in the most authentic of ways, perhaps making plans for a trip to Japan would be in order! Since Japan is the place where access to wagyu is the most possible, go ahead and make some plans to enjoy some tourist attractions while there.

The Kansai region of the country supplies some of the highest rated beef, including the world-famous Kobe beef, as well as Matsusaka Ushi and Ohmi (or Omi) beef. But these can also be sourced through restaurants in larger cities, such as the capital of Tokyo.

Hakushu, one of the most famous and popular Kobe beef restaurants in the country, is a family run business in Tokyo that specializes in Teppanyaki style beef. And for those who prefer to eat their wagyu steak prepared on an American style charcoal grill? Check out a restaurant simply known as The Steakhouse in the Roppongi area of the city.

Wagyu Day FAQs

What is wagyu beef?

Wagyu is a breed of Japanese cattle used for high quality steaks and other cuts of beef. [1]

Why is wagyu beef so expensive?

The limited supply of cattle in Japan is the main reason the price is high.

How is wagyu beef raised?

Wagyu cows are allowed to graze freely, are never given hormones and are carefully tended to reduce stress that makes meat tough.[2]

How to pronounce wagyu?

The word is pronounced “wag-yoo”.

How much is wagyu beef?

The highest grade of wagyu beef can be priced up to $250 per pound! [3]

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