In most countries, tipping at restaurants or hotels is quite common. Giving a tip to anyone offering a service is considered a way of expressing gratitude.
Japan is an anomaly: even though Japan is known for its amazing customer service, no one gives tips here. Why is that? Let’s find out!
Indirect tip in the form of Otoshi at restaurants
If you have been to a good izakaya Japanese-style pub in Japan, as soon as you are seated, the staff will bring a cool towel to wipe your hands. Then ask what you’d like to drink and almost immediately bring an “Otoshi (お通し). This is like cover or seat charge that is included in the food bill which works as an indirect tip.
Thank you is enough
Regardless of any type of service, be it hotels, hair salons, taxis, restaurants, no one will accept a tip. If you insist on giving a tip, it can be considered rude or even insulting. So its best to just say “Arigato (Thank you)” instead.
Customer first is the fundamental principle of the Japanese service industry
Good customer service is a given when it comes to Japan. Making the customer feel like king is just considered part of business in Japan and Japanese pride in their execution of “omotenashi” roughly translated as “hospitality.” It is believed that you do not need to receive tips to offer good service.
If you forget to take your change in a cab or restaurant, you will be chased after by the staff or cab driver with your money! Since there is no tipping culture, even though you’ve left the change as a tip, it only causes staff to think that you’ve forgotten your money. In Japan, receiving money outside the system is considered illegal. If you don’t want to create an awkward situation, just avoid tipping!
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