Matsusaka Beef (松阪牛, matsusaka ushi,) with its extremely fine marbling (霜降り, shimofuri, "falling frost") and soft taste is said to be a work of art. The beef is produced from female black wagyū (和牛, "Japanese cattle") in the vicinity of Matsusaka City. In order to produce high quality beef, the cows are raised with great care over several years. With a diet including soybean cakes and ground wheat, they are given more than enough to eat. When the cows lose their appetite, they are given beer to drink. They are also taken outside for sunbathing, massages and daily walks in the afternoon.
Since 1949, there is a competitive beef cattle exhibition called Matsusaka Nikugyū Kyōshinkai (松阪肉牛共進会), held every year in November to determine the "Matsusaka Cow of the Year". The current price record for a single animal was set by top-class Matsusaka Cow "Yoshitoyo" at the 53rd exhibition in 2002 at 50,000,000 Yen.
With the introduction of the "Matsusaka Beef Identification and Management System" in recent years, production, shipping and transport are under permanent control, and only safe products provided with a Matsusaka Beef certificate and seal are made available.
It is an absolute must to visit Matsusaka City and delight in this high quality beef in one of the many restaurants offering it.