Meat with a fine, tender fiber beautifully marbled to melt in the mouth for a rich aroma and taste.
Raised in the rich nature of Gifu Prefecture, touted for its scenic beauty, Hida beef is created at the hands of discerning beef producers with superior techniques and concern for customer safety and assurance who invest the time required to make superior quality meat.
Please have a look at the definitions, history, and production area of Hida beef.
(1) The region that has been breeding the beef the longest is Gifu Prefecture.
(2) Beef fattened by a producer certified and registered in the farmer accreditation system of the Hida Beef Brand Promotion Conferece.
(3) Comes from a black-haired Japanese Wagyu cattle breed fattened for at least 14 months.
(4) Meat quality is rated grade 3, 4 or 5 by The Japan Meat Grading Association.
Certified only when the secretariat of the council confirms these four conditions are met
Graded meat certified as Hida beef is issued a Hida beef label. The Hida beef label clearly lists the meat grade, the name and address of the producer, an individual identification number and the certification date.
For more information, visit Hida Beef Brand Promotion Conferece Terms and Conditions(link)
Gifu Prefecture is located near the center of Japan, with a total area of 10,621 square kilometers, the largest part of which is covered by forest. The high mountains of the North Alps, such as 3,000-meter Norikuradake and Ontake, stretch across the northern area of the prefecture.
Hida beef is produced amid a wealth of natural benefits gained from the wide expanses of land, pure water, clean air, and differences in both seasonal temperatures and daytime and nighttime temperatures.
Gifu Prefecture is also home to the World Heritage site Shirakawago and features abundant tourism resources that draw visitors from across Japan. Nostalgic street scenes, famous hot springs, and the view from Mt. Kinkazan that overlooks the Noubi Plain and Gifu Castle draw tourists not only from Japan but from around the world in recent years.
By the end of the mid-1950s, cattle were being raised in Gifu Prefecture as "work cattle" used to cultivate the land. In 1955, increased mechanization of farm labor prompted the beginning of a shift from cattle raised as "work cattle" to cattle raised for meat. From 1965 to 1975, increased attention to meat quality and weight gain generated improvements in cattle raising for meat production. This sparked a trend throughout Japan, with the Wagyu Olympics "All-Japan National Wagyu Cattle Expo(commonly known as "Zenkyo"), a competition held to provide each prefecture a chance to pit livestock improvements against those of other Prefectures.
Each locality in Gifu Prefecture had its name on a type Wagyu cattle being bred from 1975 to 1985, but momentum to use a common name for all breeds in the prefecture built until all cattle were collectively referred to as "Gifu beef."
In 1981, a cattle named Yasufuku who would later become the "father of Hida beef" was brought to Gifu from Hyogo Prefecture and established the Hida beef brand, siring offspring that produced great achievements in meat production. With the full cooperation of Yoshida Ham Co., Ltd., the company that held the Hida beef trademark at the time, work progressed to change the name from Gifu beef to Hida beef to promote it as a brand name, and the Hida Beef Brand Promotion Conferece was established in 1988.
Thus began the history of Hida beef.
Hida Beef became a household name when the meat won top honors in Japan at the 8th All-Japan National Wagyu Cattle Expo held in Gifu Prefecture in 2002. The Expo is held once every five years when exceptional Wagyu cattle from all over Japan come together to contend for superiority in an event so large it is called the "Wagyu Olympic Games." Competition is divided into the Bull Division, in which entrants compete based on the results of improvements, and the Meat Division, in which competition is based on meat quality. Hida beef has won honors (The Prime Minister's Prize) and captured the highest award for best carcass in each of these divisions.
Hida beef continued its award-winning streak for best carcass at the 9th Expo held five years later.
In recent years, Hida beef has also achieved straight victories in Beef Cattle Expo sponsored by the Kinki-Tokai-Hokuriku Regional Association. Every prefecture participates in this competitive exhibition of Matsuzaka beef, Kobe beef, Omi beef and other famous brand cattle. Hida beef won the Best Carcass Award (Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Prize) in fiscal years 2012, 2013 and 2015.
Yasufuku's bloodline includes "Hida Shirakiyo," "Shirakiyo 85-3," "Hana-Kiyokuni" and scores of other bulls active in the prefecture that have all contributed to further expansion of the Hida beef brand.
Gifu Prefecture's level of expertise in fattening techniques also stand out by generating significantly more meat than the national average that is certified grade 5, the highest carcass rating of the Japan Meat Grading Association.