The meat from wagyu cattle is known worldwide for its marbling , increased eating quality through a naturally enhanced flavor, tenderness and juiciness, and thus a high market value. In several areas of Japan, beef is shipped with area names. Some examples are Kobe, Mishima, Ōmi beef and Sanda beef. Highly prized for their rich flavor, these cattle produce arguably the finest beef in the world. These different breeds produce beef that range from expensive to extremely expensive (about $500 USD per 150 grams of filet steak sold retail in Japan).

The wagyu cattle's genetic predisposition yields a beef that contains a higher percentage of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids than typical beef. The increased marbling also improves the ratio of monounsaturated fats to saturated fats.

Wagyu cattle were  introduced to Japan as a beast of burden to help cultivate rice.

There are five major breeds of wagyu are Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Polled, Japanese Shorthorn, and Kumamoto Reds. Japanese breed names include: Tajima, Hida (Gif Pref.), Tottori, Shimane, Kochi and Kumamoto. Kumamoto Prefecture is famous for their red wagyū cattle. The more famous black variety has their origins in Kobe.