Must Visit Place When In Japan – GTE’s #1 Top Pick

When people think of Japan, people always think of two things. Tokyo and Sushi. What if I told you that there’s more to Japan than that? Especially in the US, you can get very good sushi that is almost as good and fresh as in Japan (since they ship it directly from Japan daily). The sushi in Japan is only incrementally better.   Regarding Tokyo, it’s a great city, and furthermore, is most people’s first destination when visiting Japan. With Japan’s excellent railroad system, it’s very easy to travel throughout the country, so why just go for the ordinary? Here’s GTE #1 top pick for Must Visit Place When In Japan(besides Tokyo).

GTE’s Top Pick – Kobe, Japan

This is why GTE’s Top Pick to go is Kobe, of course, to eat the Kobe Beef. It’s only about an hour by the JR Rail from Osaka and Kyoto. If Osaka is a mini Tokyo, Kobe would be a mini Osaka without the skyscrapers. We thought that it would be all farmland, but it is actually a city filled with shops, restaurants, end even a Chinatown.

Kobe Beef In Kobe

Kobe beef has been falsely marketed around the world. May restaurants sell thinks like a Kobe Beef Burger for $20. There is no way that the beef is that cheap. Some restaurants are more honest and market it as “Kobe Style”, which they just put more fat in the meat or something of that nature. Real Kobe beef HAS to be from the Kobe region. Here’s some quick facts about it:

Kobe beef is comprised of a very particular strain of Wagyu called Tajima-Gyu that is raised to strict standards in the prefecture of Hyogo. (Hyogo’s capital city is Kobe, thus the name).

  • Bullock (steer) or virgin cow.
  • Tajima-Gyu born within Hyogo Prefecture
  • Fed on a farm within Hyogo Prefecture
  • Meat processed within Hyogo Prefecture
  • Marbling rating (BMS) of 6 or higher on a 12 point scale
  • Meat quality rating of 4 or higher on a 5 point scale
  • An overall weight not exceeding 470 kg
  • Only 3,000 head of cattle qualify as authentic Kobe cattle each year.

Not to be confused by Wagyu Beef, which is considered any beef from Japan. The ratings on Wagyu is based on 1)Yield Grade (A-C) and 2) Quality Grade (1-5), with A5 Wagyu being the most premium.  Every Kobe Steak is a Wagyu, but not all Wagyu is Kobe beef.

Where To Get Kobe Beef

Fortunately, there are abundant of restaurants that serve both Kobe beef (and Wagyu) in Kobe, with some many located just mere blocks away from the railroad stations. I opted to go to Kobe Kikusui Steak Shop, as not only as it a restaurant, it was a butcher shop on the ground floor. You can choose to eat your Kobe Beef Teppanyaki style on the second floor, where they cook it right in front of your seat. It’s like eating at a high end Benihana, except in this case, the food is just as the cooking entertainment.

Top restaurants in places like Tokyo and Kyoto are near impossible to get reservations, but in Kobe, you can get internationally prized dining, anytime without a reservation.

The prices aren’t cheap, but still less expensive than what you would get in the US (If you could find meat of this quality). 120g of Kobe beef was about $100 and comes with some vegetables, fried garlic, unlimited rice, and desert. They also mix the fatty ends of the meat with some vegetables into some deliciousness to mix in with your rice.

Kobe Kikusui Steak Shop

What To Do After

Kobe is a good day trip spot, and after eating all the meat, you can walk around and check out the Chinatown, or walk around and visit all the small shops along that area.  Of course, there will be more Kobe Beef restaurants there also so you could go for round 2 if your heart/stomach desires.

Unit Next Time,
Team GTE