Kobe was another day trip from our “base” in Kyoto. It took about an hour for us to get there via the train. One thing we knew we were going to do during our visit to Japan was to try an authentic Kobe beef. It was one of the absolute must-do on our list. Kobe looked like a beautiful city even with the gray clouds and rain we experienced during our visit. It is the sixth-largest city in Japan and the capital city of Hyōgo Prefecture. There is plenty to see and taste in Kobe so plan accordingly.
We only had a day in our schedule so we did what we thought would be the best time-wise. However, looking back you can easily spend 3-4 days in Kobe just visiting the attractions and eating Kobe beef daily. Some of the attractions we had on our list were: Arima Onsen, Mount Rokko, Sōraku-en gardens, etc. Number one however was as expected the authentic Kobe beef experience.
The Kobe Beef Experience
Plenty of restaurants offered Kobe beef and most of them were fully booked. We got quite lucky to make a reservation online the week before. The best restaurants there are very expensive and booked way in advance. We did not care about the price that much since how many times in your life you would actually eat an authentic Kobe beef? Unless you live in Japan this is a very rare and unique experience.
The restaurant we ended up going to was Royal Mouriya in Kobe. It was everything we hoped for and more. We had our own room with a personal chef who was very polite and dedicated. We had a salad and a soup while the chef was preparing the Kobe beef and the vegetables. Every single part of the main meal was cooked to perfection in front of our eyes. The steak looked like nothing we have ever seen with perfect distribution between the meat and the fat. The so-called marbled texture was like nothing else we have ever tried.
Kobe beef (神戸ビーフ Kōbe bīfu) is Wagyu beef from the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle, raised in Japan’s Hyōgo Prefecture. The meat is a delicacy, valued for its flavor, tenderness, and fatty, well-marbled texture. Kobe beef is generally considered one of the three top brands (known as Sandai Wagyu, “the three big beefs”), along with Matsusaka beef and Ōmi beef or Yonezawa beef.
The entire experience was about a few hours and remains the best meat we have ever tasted. We have tried plenty of filet mignon stakes etc but nothing comes close to this. It feels weird that you can point a finger at an entire city like Kobe and what you remember the most is a meal. But everything else just pales in comparison.
If you are going to Kobe make sure you have a reservation to try it. You would thanks us I assure you later.