Wagyu is, quite simply, the most sought-after beef in the world.
“Wagyu” (和牛 – pronounced /WAH-gyoo/) is a term that literally means “Japanese cow” and is the name given to cattle breeds developed over centuries in Japan. They are considered a national treasure and are no longer exported from Japan. Wagyu beef is legendary for its intense, perfect marbling and carries a well-deserved reputation for superior taste, texture and tenderness.
Wagyu originated from Asian cattle breeds and were bred for centuries as working animals to plow fields. As a result of their natural environment and working conditions, over time they developed a unique natural ability to store extra energy as a fine, evenly-distributed intra-muscular fat — marbling with an intensity and level unique to the breed. Beginning in the Meiji era, Japan recognized the value and quality of this meat, and sought to develop Wagyu into the finest quality beef through highly regulated breeding programs over many decades.
Adapted from the Crowdcow.com website