There is no tipping culture in Japan

Jun 22, 2020

Tipping at restaurants and hotels is quite common in most countries, and it is considered a way of expressing gratitude.
However, if you leave a tip in Japan, you would definitely see a staff chasing you to return the tip, but why?

Although Japan is known for its amazing omotenashi (hospitality) and customer service, no one gives tips in this country.
Tipping culture is not a common practice in Japan, and today we introduce why Japanese don’t tip.

Otoshi: a form of indirect tip at restaurants and bars

Most restaurants and izakaya (Japanese-style bars) welcome you with a cool or warm towel to wipe your hands as soon as you are seated.
Then, the staff will ask what you’d like to drink and bring an “otoshi (お通し)” almost immediately.

Otoshi is a small dish equivalent to appetizer that is served to accompany your drinks.
Otoshi is included in the food bill as a cover or seat charge, which also works as an indirect tip.

The omotenashi culture in the Japanese service industry

In the Japanese service industry, where customers are first, a good customer service is a must.

Making the customer feels like a king is considered as a part of business and as an execution of “omotenashi”.

Omotenashi is a Japanese business culture where good services are always given to the customers as a form of hospitality.

Therefore, it is normal for customers to receive good services and there is no need to give tips for that.

Thank you is enough

Tipping is never expected in Japan, whether at restaurants, hotels, hair salons, or even in a taxi. No one will accept a tip, and if you insist on giving a tip, it will often cause chaos. Tips can be considered rude or insulting, and saying “arigato (thank you)” is enough to show your gratitude.

We strongly suggest you to not tip directly with cash, but show your efforts by focusing on other ways that would support the business or server.

One thing you can do to show your support is to provide an honest and constructive feedback about the service.

Your feedback will help your favorite restaurants or hotels to improve the quality of their services, which will also improve the business indirectly.

In addition, you can also buy the official merchandises like t-shirts and mugs to help promoting the restaurants or hotels you like.