Yonezawa Gyu

Yonezawa Gyu

Registration Number 26
Name of the GI Yonezawa Gyu, YONEZAWAGYU
Class Meat
Date of Protection 2017/03/03
Producing Area Yamagata Prefecture
Okitama Area (Yonezawa City, Nanyo City, Nagai City, Takahata Town, Kawanishi Town, Iide Town, Shirataka Town, Oguni Town) ,in Yamagata Prefecture
Applicant – Name and Address

Yonezawagyu Brand Promotion Association

978-1, Oaza Kamikomatsu, Kawanishimachi, Higashiokitama District, Yamagata Prefecture


Producing Area

 YONEZAWAGYU is beef from Japanese black-haired virgin female cattle produced in the Okitama area of Yamagata Prefecture, with an average age of more than 32 months at the time of shipment. Since the first beef shop opened in Yonezawa City in the early Meiji Period (1870's), YONEZAWAGYU has been highly regarded for its quality and used as meat for high culture cuisine. Today, tourists who visit the area around Yonezawa look forward to YONEZAWAGYU beef steak, sukiyaki and shabu-shabu.

 In 1871, the first prefectural governor invited British teacher Charles Henry Dallas to the prefectural school's Kojokan. When Mr. Dallas finished his term and left Yonezawa four years later, he brought a local cattle to his Yokohama settlement. Mr. Dallas made a contract with a livestock dealer of Yonezawa and a wholesaler of Yokohama to sell it as YONEZAWAGYU because people who tasted the beef praised it unanimously. It thus gained a reputation, and YONEZAWAGYU came to be known all over the country.

 Since the first beef shop opened in Yonezawa City in 1875 with Mr. Dallas' recommendation, many specialty beef stores opened one after another. Back then, in Yonezawa, silk fabrics were starting up as an industry, and many merchants from the Kansai region who came to buy fabrics were often treated to a YONEZAWAGYU "beef pot". Evidently, because it had captivated Kansai people who had become accustomed to the taste of beef, the fame of YONEZAWAGYU spread nationwide.

 By the middle of the Meiji era (1890's), as pastures and livestock farms had been set up in Yonezawa and surrounding areas, the production of YONEZAWAGYU took off as an industry. In the early Taisho era (1910's), more than 300 animals per year were being raised.

 In the 1980s, trading of beef cattle gradually shifted from live animals which had been the mainstream to the carcass trade. In 1988, the "Yonezawa Beef Shipping Association" was formed for the steady shipment of carcasses to the Tokyo meat market. In 1992, in order to further establish the brand of YONEZAWAGYU, the "Yonezawa Beef Promotion Council" was founded together with administrative and related organizations, and unified standards for YONEZAWAGYU were laid down. Supported by these activities, the reliability of YONEZAWAGYU as a regional brand is now firmly established.

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Delivering the Charm of Japan’s Traditional Specialty Products