The Cattle of the Lake The Omi Beef brand is the oldest in Japan, with a history that dates back more than 400 years when it was routinely served by the Shogun to his warlords and came to be known as the "Emperors Beef". The "Holy Trinity" of Omi, Kobe and Matsusaka Beef has long been considered by Wagyu connoisseurs as Japan's best beef producers. In fact, during the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when it finally became legal to actually consumer beef again in Japan, much of what shipped as Kobe beef was actually Omi Beef.
Also similar to Kobe is the absolutely pristine environment in which these cattle are raised by the shores of the largest freshwater lake in Japan, Lake Biwa, also known as the Mother Lake, into which 400 rivers flow. As well, in the area surrounding the lake, some of the best rice in Japan is grown (no one takes rice more seriously than the Japanese and rice straw is a critical component of the Wagyu diet), the vast majority of which is farmed organically. Its critical importance to city of Kyoto ensures that the Shiga Prefecture has the tightest environmental restrictions in the country - this an ideal place to raise cattle.