Asia,  Japan,  TDM,  Travel Journal

I tested the Kobe beef in Kobe (Japan) and loved it!

The first time I heard about Kobe beef was in a teppanyaki in Paris (teppanyaki = restaurant where a hot plate is used to cook food). And the idea started to germinate: one day, I will go to Kobe to eat Kobe beef

Kobe beef? What is it?

Kobe beef comes from the Tajima-gyu breed. This breed has been kept pure since the Edo period (17th century) until now. Kobe beef is said to account for only 0.16% of beef consumption in Japan. Only “virgin” cows and castrated males, raised to maturity, are considered eligible. They must also be born in Hyogo Prefecture (of which Kobe is the main city), to a farmer who is a member of the Kobe Beef Association, and meet BMS (Beef Marbling Standard) criteria (fat content in meat), weight criteria, pedigree justification etc. For a Kobe cow to reach maturity, it will take 30 to 32 months, which is 2 to 4 months longer than a standard cow

All this explains why it is so rare and so expensive

Japanese beef was rated from C1 to A5 (A5 was of exceptional quality). For Kobe beef, restaurants often offer A4 or A5

We have done several researches on Tripadvisor. We finally opted for the restaurant Kobe Beef Ishida, not far from the main train station. It’s mandatory to fill out a reservation request online, we are confirmed if the chosen date is available, and then we pay online

We have RDV at 12 am but as we risk to be refused if we are 15 minutes late, we arrive 30 minutes in advance lol 😀 time to hang out in the neighborhood and quickly see what the city of Kobe looks like

We are placed at the counter, in front of the hotplate. We are given an apron to protect our clothes from oil splashes. And we are presented with the large 280g piece of A5 quality, which we ordered for two

The chef even proposes to take a picture of us with 😀

We are served a small aperitif

Followed by a salad

Then the chef prepares the meat before our astonished eyes. He uses no oil, only the fat from the meat, to cook the different parts of the piece. He asks us the desired cooking and we follow his recommendation: rare

Even if we have two sauces at our disposal (vinegar sauce and soy sauce) and a few piles of salt, pepper and mustard, it is the chef who tells us what to eat with: for example, meat is only eaten with a pinch of salt and pepper. On the other hand, vegetables and a small Japanese cake are eaten with the other sauces and mustard

They also serve us white rice, miso soup, a bit of fermented vegetables

We finish with a small sorbet and tea


Kobe meat is tender and delicious. It melts in the mouth. I can’t find that “nutty” taste that people were talking about, but it is really a meat of excellent quality. The fat in the meat isn’t embarrassing, it’s not as if you bite into a piece of pure fat, it gives the meat that tender side. However, having quite a lot of fat, 150 grams of beef is quite sufficient

Is it worth it? If you have the budget, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime treat. However, for very small budgets, know that meat of Japanese origin is generally tasty, and more or less marbled like kobe beef. You can opt for cheaper solutions in a teppanyaki restaurant for 2000yen the 150g (about 15€)


Kobe Beef Ishida:

It’s half the price if you go there at noon

  • Quality A4 (5800yen or 43€) the meal at lunchtime
  • Quality A5 (7800yen or 58€) the meal at lunchtime

To which you have to add the 16% service and VAT

In short, with drinks, taxes etc. we paid 156€ all inclusive for two



Did you like this article? Check out our travel diaries in Japan

Travel Diary Osaka (Japan) #1 : flight hours and our Airbnb
Travel Diary Osaka (Japan) #2 : our first onsen, Dotonbori and Shinsaibashisuji Shopping Street
Travel Diary Osaka (Japan) #3: Osaka Castle, cherry blossoms, Namba Walk, Bic Camera, SK-II
Travel Notes Osaka (Japan) #4: Sakura at the Expo ’70 Commemorative Park, Japan Folk Crafts Museum
Travel Notebook Osaka (Japan) #5 : One night in a Ryokan – Fudouguchikan Ryokan in Osaka
Travel Notes Osaka (Japan) #6 : My Favorite Restaurants
Travel Notebook Osaka (Japan) #7 : My favorite shopping addresses

Travel journal Kyoto (Japan) #1 : Sakura, Cherry blossoms
Travel journal Kyoto (Japan) #2: Museum of Traditional Crafts, Kyoto Botanical Garden, Fushimi Inari-taisha
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I tested the Kobe beef in Kobe (Japan) and loved it!

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