The 4 Best Species of Japanese Cattle for Producing the World’s Most Expensive Wagyu Beef

Best Species of Japanese Cattle for Producing the World's Most Expensive Wagyu Beef

There are 4 Best Species of Japanese Cattle for Producing the World’s Most Expensive Wagyu Beef. Until now, as we know, Japanese beef Wagyu is still the most expensive beef in the world. Wagyu itself comes from Japanese which can be interpreted as “Wa” means “Japanese” and Gyu means “cow”. Wagyu meat in Japan usually has an expensive price because wagyu production is strictly regulated and supervised by the Japanese government. Genetic testing also is part of this process. Only the cows with the best genetic can pass in the reproductive line for Wagyu beef.

Grading Level of Japanase Wagyu . Source :
Picture of Grading Level of Japanase Wagyu . Source :

In the rearing of these cattle, the cows are also bred in a special way, namely, the food that is given in the form of grass and water from the original place. Classical music is also played on the cows and usually massaged by the breeders. Believe it or not, this is the way in more specialized and humane care for animals that affects the quality of meat products. The resulting Wagyu meat is very good quality. The fat of the meat can melt in the mouth if consumed by humans.

The  Best  of Japanese Cattle for The Prime Japanese Wagyu
The Best of Japanese Cattle for The Prime Japanese Wagyu

If you look at the beef breeds in Japan, there are 4 species of cattle as source of wagyu in Japan. Of course, these cows have become a special option and are bred according to standardized procedures so as to produce high-quality Wagyu meat. The four types of cattle include:

1.Japanese Black (黒毛和種 /Kuroge Washu)

Before the 20th  century, The Japanese Black only used as an animal that helped human work/activities in this country. But after the Meiji Empire era (February 3, 1867 – July 30, 1912) which famous for its “Meiji Restoration”, various improvements were made in various sectors including livestock. Japanese cows are crossbreed and their genetic traits are improved in order to increase the quality of produced meat. The cattle breeding continued to be carried out and still developed during the Meiji Era through crossing trials with cows from overseas. The result of this cow breeding is a new type that is called Japanese black which was later certified as a genuine Japanese beef cattle in 1944 and nowadays this is one of the best species of Japanese Cattle for wagyu production.

This breed is raised in most Japanese prefectures, and 90% and more of the wagyu meat was produced in Japan comes from this species. The Age of beef cattle for slaughtering is around 28-30 months. This procedure can get an average grade of beef marbling standard (BMS) is 5.6. This grade is based on the fat content of the meat. The higher the BMS value of meat, the higher the fat content of the meat.

2. Japanese Brown(赤毛和種 / Akage Washu)

Japanese Brown Cow or Akage Washu, “Akaushi” means Aka which means is red, and Ushi means cow. This word means Japanese cow with brown/red hair. This species is mostly raised in Kumamoto and Kochi Prefecture. Before the Meiji era, this type of cow was only used as a “working cattle”. However, its function changes along with the Meiji restoration that affects various fields including the animal husbandry sector. In this Meiji era, this cow is also widely developed for meat production.

The Kumamoto region has the largest cattle population of this species.  Around hundreds of thousands of cows are reared in that area. Meanwhile, Kochi Prefecture has a population of less than 2,000. The process of improving the nature of this breed begins by crossbreeding it with a Simmental Hanwoo (red cow) cow from South Korea. Until 1944, the resulted cow from crossbreed still carried out over the years and the result was certified as authentic Japanese beef cattle later.

Beef produced from this type of beef has a characteristic low-fat content which is around 12% or even less. Due to the low-fat content in the meat, it tastes delicious with a hard texture and is very delicious when consumed. The fat is also not too high but has a smooth texture, so it is delighted because of its health and light taste. This breed of cow is usually slaughtered at the age of 25 months. The best slaughter at that age is due to lower marbling rates with the average Japanese Grade Beef marbling standard (BMS) 3.2. The BMS rate from this species is lower than Japanese Black.

3. Japanese Shorthorn (日本短角和種 / Nihon Tankaku Washu)  


Japanese Shorthorn / Japanese short-horned cattle are widely bred, especially in the Tohoku Region. This species of the cow is developed by crossbreed with the original Japanese “Nanbu cattle”. After continuing to improve the quality of the offspring, this breed was certified to be the original Japanese beef cattle in 1957. The characteristic of the meat contains a little fat and has a light and savory taste. This type of beef also contains inosinic acid (an important compound in metabolism) and glutamic acid, which are substances that enhance the taste. The average beef marbling standard (BMS) value of wagyu beef from this species is 3 or even lower.

4.Japanese Polled (無角和種 / Mukaku Washu)

Japanese Polled is the result of a crossbreeding between Aberdeen Angus and Japanese Black. Aberdeen Angus cattle are imported from Scotland and then are crossbred with Japanese Black. This activity began in 1920. After some trials and experiments,  it was certified as a genuine Japanese beef cattle in 1944. It has low-fat characteristics and a distinctive taste. The beef contains a high percentage of amino acids and has a chewy taste. Statistically, the current population of Japanese Polled is the smallest compared to 3 other species (Japanese Shorthorn,  Japanese Brown, and Japanese Black) with several hundred of remained populations.

Source of Article :

American Wagy Association. 2020. Breed Info. Accessed from

Herdsy. 2020. The Top 5 Most Expensive Steaks in the World. Accessed from

Steak and Game. 2019. Wagyu Beef Grading and Marble Score. accessed in


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