Wagyu Ranch / Farm Tours??
I'll be spending a few weeks in Japan in September and am looking for a tour of a wagyu farm or ranch in the Kobe or Matsuzaka area. Does anyone know this is available somewhere?
I know most producers are small and probably don't want to bother with crazy tourists but... I REALLY like to know where my food comes from. :)
I used to love the beef at Wakou, way out in Yamanashi. Like a Denny's with chilled cabarnet and $80 steaks. http://www.k-wakou.com/
They had barns behind the restaurant, and you could pretty much wander out there to say hi to the cattle as you liked. It's right off the highway, if that helps (and I don't mean that in a bad way).
However they told me one time that they weren't allowed to serve their own cattle directly - the grower's association mandates that everything be auctioned first. Makes it tough to be sure where your beef comes from, although I've heard of places that offer you a nose-print of the cow they're carving from that night.
good luck, it is very difficult. There are a few theme park type places such as the one mentioned above, but none with English facilities. I have managed to visit a "real" farm, but only because I was writing an article, and it took a lot of arranging - I didn't think it was going to come off until the last minute. The farmer was very open about his methods though.