Nikuya’s Japanese Wagyu Beef is selected from carcasses meeting the top two grades of A4 and A5 as determined by the Japanese Meat Grading Association. Most of the A4 and A5 grade Wagyu in Japan is from the Kuroge Wagyu (Black Haired Wagyu).
"Kobe Beef" is a brand of Wagyu Beef that is produced from cattle that is raised and slaughtered in Hyogo Prefecture where Kobe is the largest city. Technically speaking, only Kobe Beef raised and slaughtered in Hyogo Prefecture can be called “Kobe Beef” but currently there are no meat packing plants in Hyogo Prefecture that are eligible to export their beef overseas.
However, all famous brands of Wagyu Beef such as “Kobe Beef” or “Matsuzaka Beef” are all from carcasses that grade either as A4 or A5 grade. Therefore, Nikuya’s Japanese Wagyu Beef is the same or better in terms of quality and taste as these famous Japanese Brands. To put things into perspective, an A5 grade carcass is even very rare in Japan.
The wagyu cattle from the time they are born are raised like a child in the family. Each calf is given a name and lives with their mother until about 10 months of age at which time they are transferred to another farmer that finishes the cattle to maturity for another 16 to 24 months. They are raised slowly to develop the marbling within the meat and to reduce the external layer of fat and seam fat as much as possible to increase off-the-bone meat yield. These farmers check the health of the animal everyday and raise only a very small number of cattle so that each cattle can be given individual attention in order to maximize the quality of the each carcass.
Nikuya’s Japanese Wagyu Beef are raised in an area which is about 100km northwest of Tokyo. Two thirds of this prefecture (province) is mountainous and the area is blessed with abundance of nature; such as 2000m high mountains, pristine lakes and rivers. With its close proximity to Tokyo, the products have been developed to exceed the most competitive and demanding market in Japan (and if not the world). As a result, the products have tight trim specifications and individually vacuum packed pieces are smaller for easier handling and inventory control.
Nikuya’s Japanese Wagyu Beef is processed at the only production facility on Japan’s largest island that is approved for export to the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and also the Japanese domestic market. With Narita International Airport just a few hours away by truck, the products arrive via direct flight to Vancouver. Hence, our products are the freshest in North America.
In Japan all beef carcasses are tested for BSE to ensure food safety. The Japanese products are fully traceable in that each piece is labeled with a carcass number that allows any user to check the history of the cattle on line at the National Livestock Breeding Center's website. (www.nlbc.go.jp) In North America, due to the sheer number of cattle that is processed, testing each carcass for BSE or keeping an on-line database of each cattle’s history is not feasible. Therefore, Nikuya’s Japanese Wagyu Beef could be considered safer than any other beef raised and processed in North America.
Our View on Marbling
For a detailed explanation of the Japanese Grading Specification, see below attached translation by J.R. Busboom and J.J. Reeves of the Washington State University
Japanese Beef Grading (323Kb pdf)
Contact our sales team at 604-276-2983 or use our online form to arrange for your next order from Nikuya Meats.