Is Kobe Beef Worth it?

In Japan, I ate the famous Kobe beef for the first time. Unfortunately, not in Kobe but in Kyoto. For a foodie like I, it was sure an experience to treasure. However, is Kobe beef worth it? Before I go further, let’s get going with the basics about Kobe Beef.

What is Kobe Beef?

It is a rare tender form of meat sourced from Japanese Tajima-gyu cattle from the Hyogo prefecture. Tajima cattle were grass and grain fed, isolated from other breeds in the mountains.

“Rumours have it that cows are provided with beer to reduce their appetite and sometimes given Sake to better their marble texture.”

The meat is so exquisite, you can see all the intricate veins from each muscular part and displaying a marble effect. This marbled fat allows it to be melted swiftly at low temperatures.

Consequently, there has been a handful of media debates that it’s a sham and overrated. When reality is, most of those articles base it on the American version of Kobe.

Photo by Ryan Song on Unsplash

The cattle from Hyogo are banned from the USA as slaughterhouse regulations were not approved. Making it illegal to import Kobe Beef into America.

How much is it?

Kobe beef can range from ¥13,000 ($110) per lb ,onward. For the price Is Kobe beef worth it?

My Experience

On a delightful Autumn evening in Kyoto, my friends proposed the idea of dining at a restaurant that sold Kobe.

Photo by Fabrizio Chiagano on Unsplash

At the time, my naive nineteen-year-old self had just gotten adjusted to saying yes to new opportunities. ( I would have never experienced this if I wasn’t taught to escape my comfort zone ). So, when the idea was suggested, I was one of the first to jump on board. Even though, I did not know what Kobe beef was or the history behind it.

That night, we ventured out to the district of Gion sitting down to a meal. We went into a building and descended downstairs into a well-lit room. Immediately, my perception told me, that this was a well established joint.

An elegantly dressed lady in a pink kimono led us through the restaurant and into a back room. As we all sat down she slid shut the shoji’s (Japanese wooden door with paper frame).

Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash

By this point, I was already impressed. Somehow, we had managed to secure a private room all to ourselves with our own waitress. Quickly skimming the menu, I had no clue what food was what. So, I let my friends decide on the order. After twenty minutes, the waitress promptly brought our food.

There, was two trays of sliced marbled Kobe. The slices were so different from any form of beef I’d ever seen in my life. To me, it looked like raw bacon yet more thicker and muscular. She also brought lots of vegetables consisting of shallots and bamboo.

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The waitress began to cook the beef followed by the vegetables on the hot plate. Overall, the beef took about 2 minutes to cook alongside vegetables.

Wow. The beef literally melted in my mouth.

I had about two chews, and then it dissolved. It was THAT tender. Is Kobe beef worth it?

Just consider I demolished the two slices so quickly and vegetables. My stomach was extremely unsatisfied from the limited portion.

We all finished our meal, then asked for the bill.

Upon arrival of the bill, my jaw nearly hit the floor.

I was not expecting that price.

Per person, it averaged around 23,000¥ ($200)! All I can say is that I’m glad this was one of the last meals of my trip as it was well out of my budget back then.

Looking back, at aged nineteen it equated to a weeks worth of work.

Trying to forget about the burnt hole in my pocket, I and several others were still starving. So, we headed for a cheaper plan B and ordered chicken nuggets from McDonald’s.

Photo by Joshua Austin on Unsplash.

All in all, this was absolutely delicious food! However, I am a greedy traveller and prefer quantity as well as quality. I’d reccomend to try in Japan! Is Kobe beef worth it? I’d say have a plan B in mind after if you’re still hungry!


  1. Interesting !! I’ve never heard of this kind of beef before in my life and it’s soooo expensive!! 🙈 thanks for sharing! Happy Friday!! ❤️

  2. I love how after dishing out that much money you still ended up at good old McDonald’s haha. Trying kobe beef is definitely on my bucket list!

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