Apart from sushi, there aren’t many Japanese foods which are famous all over the world. But there is something else which will probably ring a bell. That’s the best beef in the world, also known as Kobe beef. I once was lucky enough to try was a small slice of Kobe beef in a restaurant in Vancouver. Right away I was in love! I knew that I had to have this again. However, the next time, I would eat Kobe beef in Kobe. The actual area where the beef is from. It took me about 4 years to finally make it to Japan and we saved eating Kobe beef in Kobe as a highlight for our last day. Boy, was it worth it! Really the best meat I have ever had!
What is Kobe beef?
Kobe beef (officially called “Kobe Niku”) is the prestigious title that is given to Tajima cattle which satisfy strict standards of breeding environment, pedigree and beef quality, set forth by the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association.
To be qualified as Kobe beef it must fulfill following standards:
- It must be Tajima cattle
- It must be a heifer or a bullock
- It must be bred by certified breeders
- It must be purely produced in Hyogo Prefecture
- It has to be classified Grade A or B
- The quality grade needs to be above 4
- The beef marble score (BMS) needs to be above 6
- There is the following weight regulation: cow 230kg – 470kg, bull 260kg – 470kg
Now that we know what Kobe beef is, we only need to know where to find the best Kobe beef in Kobe.
Where to eat Kobe beef in Kobe
Every second restaurant in Kobe will create a dish with Kobe beef for you. However, the best idea is to get off at JR Motomachi station. Walk towards China town and already you will walk past several restaurants which advertise Kobe beef. Apart from that, Kobe has a really awesome Chinatown and you can find many street vendors selling delicious Chinese food. I loved the cute buns with animal faces. Another option is to get off at JR Sannomiya Station and walk towards Ikuta Shrine.
Why we chose Kobe Beef Eikichi
There are so many options to eat Kobe beef in Kobe. Therefore, you don’t necessarily have to go to Kobe Plaisir (recommended by Lonely Planet). One thing I was sure about, was that I wanted to eat in a Teppanyaki style place so that I could watch how they cook the meat in front of us. That was a great decision because it was an art on its own to watch the chef cut and fry the meat with great care and precision. Check out their website for more information.
Tips for eating Kobe beef in Kobe
- Go eat Kobe beef during lunch time and enjoy special set meals to smaller prices
- Drink Japanese sake. I like a good glass of red wine with a good piece of meat. Unfortunately, the red wine we had there was the most expensive but one of the cheapest tasting wines I ever had. Of course, that’s a matter of taste.
- Chose a piece of meat from the rare part or from the tender meat! We tried a piece of all three parts and the cheapest one tasted like a normal steak at any restaurant. Yet, it was more expensive. However, the rare part and the tender meat were both incredibly delicious!!
How to get to Kobe
You can easily reach Kobe by JR train. It’s only 30 min from Osaka and therefore you can also check out these awesome sights in Osaka once you have filled your belly. Another short trip away you will find Nara and its famous deer park. Or are you done with this part of Japan and ready to head South? Something you shouldn’t miss on the southern island of Japan are the Beppu Hells. It takes about three and a half hours to get there from Kobe.
Where did you eat Kobe beef in Kobe and which restaurant can you recommend? Or did you even have a better Kobe beef anywhere outside Kobe?