Where Does Wagyu Beef Come From?

Wagyu beef has gained immense popularity in recent years, with its melt-in-your-mouth texture and rich, buttery taste. But many people are still unaware of its origins and what makes it so special. To truly appreciate this exceptional meat, it's important to understand its roots and the journey it takes from pasture to plate. In this informative guide, we walk you through the history of Wagyu beef.  

The History of Wagyu Beef in Japan

The story of Wagyu beef in Japan dates back to ancient times when wild cattle roamed the lands in the Yamagata Prefecture. Japanese farmers believed that their diet, being only fresh spring water and natural grass, influenced the tenderness and taste of flavorful marbled meat. This belief became synonymous with Wagyu which is widely considered as one of Japan's traditional delicacies. In fact, Wagyu has gained in popularity over time becoming universally sought-after by chefs worldwide due to its unsurpassed quality.

As the demand for Wagyu grew, it eventually made its way into worldwide markets. The market for high-grade Kobe beef with an A4 or A5 rating soared as chefs tried to recreate the premium Japanese experience. Despite laws restricting imports directly from Japan, this exclusive Wagyu experience could be replicated by raising purebred cattle from four main Japanese bloodlines in tightly controlled environments with meticulous management practices that highlighted flavor and marbling found on authentic Kobe cows– leading a revolutionized culinary landscape and inspiring bolder flavors across worldwide kitchens.

Wagyu beef: what you need to know about this exceptional meat  

Does Wagyu Beef Only Come From Japan?

No, Wagyu beef does not exclusively come from Japan. While Japan is renowned for its Wagyu beef, the term "Wagyu" refers to a specific breed of cattle rather than a specific geographic origin. The word "Wagyu" translates to "Japanese cow" (Wa = Japanese, gyu = cow), indicating its Japanese origins.

However, the Wagyu breed has been exported to various countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and several European countries. These countries have established their own Wagyu herds by importing Japanese Wagyu cattle and implementing breeding programs to maintain the breed's characteristics.

Wagyu Beef Production in Canada

When it comes to Wagyu beef, Canada has also made its mark in the industry. Canadian farmers have embraced the art of raising Wagyu cattle and producing top-quality beef. The unique breeding techniques and careful selection of genetics have allowed Canada to create its own Wagyu that are well-suited for the country's climate and terrain.

Canadian Wagyu has been specifically developed to thrive in Canadian conditions while still maintaining the desired marbled beef. It's known for its tender meat, strong marbling, and intense flavor. The high fat content in this type of wagyu beef contributes to its rich taste and melt-in-your-mouth texture.

In addition to breeding their own types of wagyu, Canadian farmers import Wagyu genetics from Japanese cattle to further improve their herds. By incorporating Japanese bloodlines into their breeding programs, Canadian producers are able to enhance the characteristics that make Japanese Wagyu beef so highly sought after around the world. This careful attention to detail ensures that Canadian Wagyu maintains its reputation for exceptional quality and taste.

Overall, Canada has established itself as a significant player in the world of Wagyu beef production. With their own breeds of Wagyu cattle, a focus on meat quality, and an understanding of what makes Wagyu so special, Canadian farmers are able to deliver a product that rivals even the most renowned Japanese varieties.

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European Wagyu: A Unique Take on the Japanese Breed  

The origins of European wagyu can be traced back to the importation of Japanese Wagyu cattle breeds into Europe. These Japanese beef cattle were then crossbred with local European cattle to create a distinct genetic content that showcases the best qualities of both lineages.

The careful breeding process has resulted in European Wagyu that exhibit high levels of marbling similar to their Japanese counterparts. This intricate marbling not only enhances the taste and texture but also gives European Wagyu steaks their signature melt-in-your-mouth experience.

European Wagyu also stands out for its unique fatty acid composition. The crossbreeding between Japanese and European cattle has led to a balance between monounsaturated and saturated fat ratio in the meat, making it healthier compared to traditional beef cuts. Additionally, due to their black cattle heritage, full-blood Wagyu from Europe typically have higher concentrations of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than other beef varieties.

What Is The Difference Between Canadian Wagyu and Japanese Wagyu?

Wagyu canadien and Japanese Wagyu refer to two different types of beef originating from Canada and Japan, respectively. While they share some similarities, there are notable differences between the two.

Genetic Differences

The term "Wagyu" refers to a specific breed of cattle. Japanese Wagyu typically comes from breeds such as Japanese Black Wagyu (Kuroge) or Japanese Brown (Akage) cattle, which have been selectively bred in Japan for many years. On the other hand, Canadian Wagyu often involves crossbred Wagyu cattle with other breeds like Angus or Hereford.

Feeding and Raising

Japanese Wagyu is traditionally raised in Japan and undergoes a specific feeding regimen known as "Kobe-style" or "Tajima-style" feeding. The cattle are fed a specialized diet that includes high-quality grains, beer, and sometimes even sake, which contributes to the intense marbling and flavor of the meat. Canadian Wagyu, while aiming to mimic the Japanese feeding methods, incorporates local feeds and practices.

Grading Systems

The grading systems for Japanese Wagyu and Canadian Wagyu differ. In Japan, beef is graded based on a strict marbling scale known as the Japanese Beef Marbling Standard (BMS), which ranges from 1 to 12, with higher numbers indicating more marbling. The Canadian system of grading is built from the Japanese but is slightly different as they also include letters, with A being the highest and C being the lowest. In Canada, A5 Wagyu is the highest quality Wagyu you can obtain.


Japanese Wagyu is renowned worldwide for its exceptional quality and is often associated with luxury beef. Due to its limited production and strict regulations on export, authentic Wagyu from Japan can be relatively expensive and harder to find outside of Japan. Canadian Wagyu,n the other hand, offers a more widely available alternative that aims to capture some of the qualities of Japanese Wagyu while being more accessible.

Flavor and Texture

Both Canadian Wagyu and Japanese Wagyu are known for their tenderness and rich, buttery flavor resulting from the high marbling content. However, due to the differences in genetics, feeding practices, and other factors, the exact flavor profiles may vary. The taste of Wagyu beef from Japan is often praised for its unique umami flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture, while Canadian Wagyu may exhibit similar characteristics but with some variations.

It's important to note that the quality and characteristics of Wagyu beef can vary even within the same country, as factors such as breeding, feeding, and handling practices can influence the final product. When purchasing Wagyu, it's advisable to look for reputable sources and inquire about the specific details of the beef to ensure an informed choice.

Buy Wagyu Beef Online

Wagyu beef has evolved from an exclusively Japanese cut of meat to a delicious breed of beef that can be enjoyed around the world. Canada in particular has a thriving Wagyu market. At Boucherie Renard, we pride ourselves on offering some of the best A5 Wagyu beef in Canada. In addition to A5 Wagyu steaks, we offerWagyu burgers, Wagyu sausages, and even Wagyu mince,so the culinary possibilities are endless. We deliver the highest-grade Wagyu straight to your door to make this Japanese delicacy easily accessible to Canadian chefs.

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