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Sustainable Tankaku (Shorthorn)  Craft Wagyu

Watanabe Farm




Oguni Town, located in Yamagata Prefecture in the northeastern region of Japan, is surrounded by majestic mountains, and has beech and deciduous and broad-leaved forests throughout. The summers are rainy, and the winters have some of the heaviest snowfall Japan, with snow sometimes piling as high as five meters in the mountain areas.

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A unique feed with rice bran & sake lees

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Shorthorn cattle at the barns

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Mr Watanabe in front of the mountain meadows

Watanabe Farm is run by its second heir, Tetsuya Watanabe. It utilizes the harsh natural environment of the area to raise Shorthorn cattle using the rotation grazing method (pasturing cattle in summer and feeding them indoors during winter), a method that allows the cattle to reach their full genetic potential.


From spring to autumn, the cattle are allowed to graze in the mountain meadows and move freely, eat grass, and rest. They grow up amid the clear plateau air, relaxed and stress-free. Their legs and feet grow strong, for quality meat. From the middle of autumn through winter, when the mountains are closed off by the snow, so the cows are brought down into the barns.


Here, they are fed a unique wheat-based feed made by mixing wheat and rice from Oguni Town farmer together with rice bran and sake lees from a local sake brewery.

The sake lees improve their appetite and digestion, and allowing for the cows to be are raised slowly so as not to overload their livers and stomachs. The sake lees used here are hand chosen from the Sakuragawa Sake Brewery, a local brewery with a history of over 300 years.


Shorthorn cattle account for only about 0.5% of the total number of Wagyu cattle raised in Japan. In addition, it is difficult to secure land for grazing in Japan's small land area. Despite the circumstances, Tetsuya Watanabe has built a reputation as the only Shorthorn Wagyu specialist that uses rotation grazing.


Where Kuroge Wagyu, the most famous Japanese Wagyu breed, is best known for its marbling (called sashi), Shorthorn Wagyu is low in fat and high in protein, and is a rich source of amino acids that further enhance the flavor. It is a great choice for the health-conscious. Watanabe Farm’s Shorthorn beef combines sustainability with the highest quality products, making their Wagyu a perfect choice for a sustainable tomorrow.


Midwinter at Tamagawa mountain stream

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Mountain meadows cattle spend from spring to autumn

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Sakuragawa Sake Brewery 

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