Is Beef Expensive in Japan?

Japan is known for its delicious and high-quality beef, but is it also expensive? In this article, we will explore the cost of beef in Japan and provide some insights into why it might be pricier than other countries.

Firstly, it’s important to note that Japan is not a big producer of beef, and only 40% of beef consumed in Japan is domestically produced. The rest is imported from countries like the United States, Australia, and Canada. This factor, along with Japan’s strict regulations on imported beef, can make it more expensive.

The Cost of Wagyu Beef

Wagyu beef is one of the most sought-after types of Japanese beef, known for its marbling and tenderness. However, it comes with a hefty price tag. In Japan, a kilogram of high-grade wagyu beef can cost over 20,000 yen (around $190). This is significantly more expensive than other types of beef, such as sirloin or brisket.

The high cost of wagyu beef is due to several factors. Firstly, the rearing process is much more time-consuming and costly than other types of beef. Secondly, wagyu cows are fed a special diet of corn and grains, which increases the cost of production. Finally, the demand for wagyu beef is high, which drives up the price.

Other Factors Affecting the Cost of Beef in Japan

Aside from wagyu beef, other factors can affect the cost of beef in Japan. One such factor is the yen exchange rate. If the yen is strong, it can make imported beef more expensive for Japanese consumers. Additionally, the cost of importing beef can fluctuate due to changes in supply and demand.

Another factor to consider is the distribution of beef. Unlike other countries, such as the United States, where beef is readily available at supermarkets, beef in Japan is often sold at specialty butcher shops or department stores. This can make it more expensive, as these retailers have higher overhead costs.


Q: Is all beef in Japan expensive?

A: Not all beef in Japan is expensive. There are different grades of beef, with some being more affordable than others. Additionally, other types of meat, such as pork and chicken, can be more budget-friendly.

Q: Why is wagyu beef so expensive?

A: Wagyu beef is expensive due to the rearing process, special diet, and high demand. These factors increase the cost of production and drive up the price.

Q: Can I find affordable beef in Japan?

A: Yes, it is possible to find affordable beef in Japan. Look for lower-grade cuts or shop at discount supermarkets.


Overall, beef in Japan can be expensive due to factors such as limited domestic production, strict regulations on imported beef, and the high cost of rearing wagyu cows. However, it is still possible to find affordable beef in Japan by looking for lower-grade cuts or shopping at discount supermarkets.

Grade Price per kg (approx.)
Wagyu 20,000 yen
Sirloin 3,000 yen
Brisket 2,500 yen

Until Next Time

Thank you for reading this article on the cost of beef in Japan. We hope it has provided some insights into why beef in Japan can be expensive and how to find more affordable options. Don’t forget to check out our other articles for more interesting reads!

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