Miyakojima’s Okinawa Beef: Japanese Wagyu in Paradise
27 July 2015
Miyakojima’s Okinawa Beef
While Japan is certainly famous for sushi and other seafood, many parts of the country feature a delicacy that was often overlooked until recently: Premium Japanese beef. With its rich flavor that seems to charm the tongue, it is often given as a high-end present. Brand beef, highly prized locally for many years, has recently begun gaining an international following.

The prominence of Japanese beef has its origins with cattle raised in Kobe and Matsuzaka. Starting with the Kobe, Matsuzaka, and Omi brands, which are referred to as the three big brands of Japanese beef, over 200 brands of beef have been developed within Japan so far. The production of Japanese beef continues today in regions all over the country, with each taking advantage of local characteristics. Distinct types of beef have been created even in places where most people would least expect it, even Japan’s southernmost islands!

For example, this kind of brand beef is also the main local specialty in Okinawa. Having attained popularity after the Okinawa Summit in 2000, Ishigaki beef is already famous—but Miyako beef, which is the pride of Miyakojima, is also becoming more and more popular especially among tourists, who appreciate this fine meat for its combination of high-grade protein and surprisingly light and subtle flavor.
Miyakojima’s Okinawa Beef

What Is Miyako Beef?

Miyako beef is called the “phantom high-class Japanese beef.” This is because, outside of high-class establishments on the main island of Okinawa, the only place you can savor it is in producing areas and on the island of Miyakojima. If you visit Miyakojima, you will definitely want to try this expensive and sought-after brand, since it is made from Japanese Black cattle, an extremely rare variety known for its premium meat quality.

Japanese Black cattle, from which Miyakojima’s Okinawa beef is created, are one of several breeds classified as “Wagyu,” which are known specifically for their abundance of fat in comparison to other types. This fat, lovingly bred into the cattle rather than injected, gives the beef itself a distinctly marbled appearance. The flavor stored within the fat is released throughout the meat when cooked, ultimately promising a juicier and more succulent steak.

What Distinguishes Miyako Beef From Other Wagyu Brands

Wagyu breeds are known for being bred and raised with the utmost attention to detail, with some being treated to constant petting and massage as part of their regime. Although the details may be different, such “royal treatment” also occurs on Miyakojima, where producers take great care in raising each head of cattle in healthy barns that match the natural features of the island. Miyako Beef is so softly textured as to almost melt in your mouth; the flavor is eloquently understated, the body filling despite only a moderate amount of flavorful fat. This distinctly-layered taste is imagined after the island itself, which is brimming with diversity in its ocean, nature, and even its sea breeze. Miyako beef even boasts a refreshing aftertaste reflective of its seaside origins.

Not surprisingly, Miyako beef is the centerpiece of grilled meat shop menus on the island and guests visiting from mainland of Japan eat it with relish. Its level of popularity still cannot compare to Kobe or Matsuzaka beef, but Miyako beef also has a history of being shipped nationwide as a famous and delicious brand. Once more people sample the glories of this beef, no doubt it will soon make its mark worldwide as well.

Okinawa Beef is Best at Ryuguen!

It may surprise you to know that Miyako beef is a rarity even for islanders! Don’t worry, though—there are various grilled meat shops on Miyakojima that serve it proudly. Of these, Ryuguen, which is located inside of Shigira Resort, showcases the charms of old Okinawa with a modern twist that is sure to enhance your dining experience. Ryuguen, known for its relaxing atmosphere and friendly, professional staff, is essential to the nightlife of the resort and the island; it serves up limited quantities of choice Miyako beef, each charcoal-grilled to perfection. Of course, you can also order it served up with fresh seafood culled from around Miyakojima itself. Everyone can enjoy it as part of a larger grilled meat set, or savor the simple, unique quality of specially selected single cut.

Even among a dazzling array of complimentary flavors and dishes, our menu puts the unique texture and taste of Miyako beef at the center of your culinary experience. One taste of Miyako beef and you will understand why people come to the island seeking more than seafood.

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