Ishigaki is the westernmost island of Okinawa prefecture, loved for its tropical weather, white sand beaches, friendly people, and delicious food. There are many wonderful things to do on this island that attracts thousands of tourists each year and keeps the locals living there their whole lives.
As well as gorgeous beaches and resorts, Ishigaki has a respectable city centre, with plenty of bars and restaurants ready to satisfy those who are looking to wine and dine in the evening after days of sightseeing and lazing on the beach.
After asking locals about great places to try the famous “wagyu” beef, which Ishigaki is loved for, we decided to visit a local yakiniku restaurant called Kingyuu, meaning Gold Beef, which is located in the town centre.
When you mention high-quality Japanese beef, most people with think of Kobe beef, a type of wagyu from the Kansai region. Though similar, Ishigaki wagyu is different simply because it comes from the black cows that dwell on the island, rather than the cows from Kobe. This marbled, tender meat has food lovers seeking out where to sample this tasty local dish.
Kingyuu is one of the recommended yakiniku restaurants in Ishigaki. As well as the usual kimchi and rice, you can choose from a selection of beef and vegetables to grill yourself at your table. There is also a course meal you can choose which includes a large course of meat, vegetables, rice, and a dessert, but at a hefty 8,000 yen per person, it is recommended you pick and choose things from the menu yourself, which usually works out cheaper.
Everything at this restaurant is of the highest quality. After grilling the bite-sized portions of beef for a few minutes, dip it into the provided sauce and eat it. You can really taste the difference between the tender, melt-in-your-mouth Ishigaki wagyu beef compared to the usual standard of yakiniku. The deliciously tender and rich meat is just unforgettable and incredibly satisfying.
The rice was an excellent palate cleanser and the restaurant also offered vegetables and different kinds of kimchi, spicy fermented vegetables, which is a popular addition to a yakiniku meal. Drinks on offer included beer, local sake, and various kinds of “sours,” including mango, passionfruit, and Calpis. The mango was sweet and the tastiest I’ve had.
Though the set was 8,000 yen, we had a few dishes of beef, kimchi, rice, and several drinks that only came to around 4,000 each which, for the high quality and excellent service, was very reasonable. Those who visit Kingyuu won’t soon forget the incredibly tasty wagyu beef and the nice service that came from the friendly local staff members. This restaurant is highly recommended for those who would like to try Ishigaki’s great beef dishes, though it is recommended you make a reservation to avoid disappointment. Ask the staff at your hotel to make a reservation for you.
Will you try the tantalizingly delicious wagyu beef during your time in Ishigaki? It is guaranteed you won’t find quality like that in many other places.