Wagyu 101 | Basic Knowledge You Must Know About Wagyu!

If you are a steak lover or has been around with people who love meat, then you probably heard of the word wagyu (和牛)

What is Wagyu?             

Wagyu is a Japanese term for Japanese cow. However, it is not just an umbrella term for a Japanese cow. It pertains to a specific breed of Japanese cattle that is genetically unique. Those genetic qualities pertain to a marbling of fat inside the muscle tissues of a cow. In other words, the fat is metabolized internally and integrated deep within the muscles.

Types of Wagyu

  • Kuroge (Japanese Black 黒毛和種) is the famous variety and consists of about 90% of the overall produced wagyu. An example of kuroge is Kobe and known for its buttery texture.
  • Akage (Japanese Brown 赤毛和種,) is known for its lean, flavorful cut characterized by its distinct sweetness.
  • Nihon Tankaku (Japanese Shorthorn 日本短角和種) – It has a low-fat content.
  • Mikako (Japanese Polled 無角和種) – It has the leanest meat, contains a high level of amino acid, which also explains its chewy texture.

Wagyu Gradings

The grading systems for Japanese wagyu are as follows:

  • Score 1 – poor
  • Score 2 – below average
  • Score 3 to 4 – average
  • Score 5 to 7 – Good
  • Score 8 to 12 – excellent


The cream of the top in the grading system is 12. Sometimes you would see a rating of A5, which also corresponds to the highest grade for Wagyu beef. They are cattle fed the best foods such as grain and corn. When you see the letter A in the grading system, it pertains to the yield grade, which is way different from the number system. What is meant with yield grade is the cutability of the cut. Yield A means 72% or higher percentage yield. Lower percentages include yield B and yield C.

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