Picturesque Fukano Valley, located 30 minutes from the city of Matsusaka in Mie Prefecture, is home to one of the country's most treasured cattle but it's not something that is immediately obvious to outsiders.

"A lot of people never get to see the cows, as it's not like they are out in pastures," says John Hayashi, an international relations coordinator for the Matsusaka region.

Farms are generally off-limits to the general public, owing to regulations concerning the spread of disease.