Tipping In Japan 2020 | Why Is It Rude To Tip In Japan?

Every country has its own unspoken rules and customs. Just like that, tipping in Japan is considered rude – read on to find out why!

Well nobody, at least not in Japan!

Why don’t people tip in Japan?

Tipping culture in Japan isn’t customary, it’s not something that’s normal in Japan. The Japanese have the highest standards when it comes to providing a service. And they do it because of their determination towards their job – which is to say that, they don’t feel the need to accept extra payment in the form of tips to feel appreciated. In fact, many locals take it as an insult when tipped. All you have to do is be polite and thank them for their services. Also, Japanese people are paid fair wages so they don’t feel the need for the extra cash.

Tipping In Japan

Is it rude to tip in Japan?

As a general rule, tipping in Japan is not accepted. But there are few exceptions and there’s a certain way of doing it. Taking money out of your wallet or purse and handing it to the staff directly is considered as an insult. 

The Japanese are hardworking people and do not expect a tip and in most cases will politely refuse the tip as well. So don’t take it personally when a waiter (or waitress) refuses your tip at a restaurant – tipping in Japan is just not a part of the Japanese culture!

tipping concierge japan

However, like I already mentioned, there are exceptions to tipping in Japan. There are a few situations where it might seem appropriate to tip (but if you’re not sure then better not). Tipping rules in Japan are unambiguous, conventional, and unspoken – there are no written document listing rules to tipping in Japan – rather it’s something imbibed in the Japanese culture, which is also why it’s tricky. 

Tipping your tour guide may be accepted and he might accept it with gratitude. Same way if you’re staying at a high-end ryokan or even a budgeted one and ask for a special service – then tipping may not be taken as an offense, as long as you tip before the service is provided and not after. 

In these situations, again, tipping in Japan is not expected and if you’re confused the best thing to do is – not give a tip. However, if you really want to give a tip then there’s a way to do it. You cannot whip out your wallet and hand them a few bills. 

When tipping in Japan, put clean bills in a decorative envelope and hand it over to the person with both your hands and bow your head slightly. You can do this to show your extra appreciation. Alternatively, if you prepare ahead of time you can bring a small token from your own country and I’m sure your tour guide will accept it happily!

Related: Check in to a ryokan with an onsen for a relaxing experience. Here are the best onsens in Hakone you can enjoy during your trip!

How Much Should I Tip In Japan?

Since tipping in Japan is not customary, nobody is expected to be tipped in the first place. But if you really want to tip someone, say a waiter or taxi driver – then it’s on you to decide how much to tip. Unlike in the US, you don’t have to tip a certain percentage of your total bill in Japan. 

Do You Leave Tip In Japanese Hotel?

Generally speaking, you do not leave a tip for any Japanese hotel staff. There’s no need to tip and the staff at any Japanese inn isn’t expecting it either. But if you feel like you’ve received an exceptional service and want to tip then you can leave clean bills of cash in an envelope in your room when you check out. 

tipping in okinawa

But then again, anywhere you go or stay in Japan, the service is most definitely going to be exceptional. When it comes to hospitality, the Japanese are one of the best in the world and provide first-class service – be it a fancy 5-star hotel or a humble Minshuku (Japanese version of bed and breakfast). 

Related: Travelling to Japan? I hope climbing the Mt Fuji is in your itinerary. Check out the guide here!

Tipping Concierge in Japan

Tipping your concierge in Japan is not appreciated at all. Your concierge in Japan will give you his or her best service because their job requires them to do so. It’s not recommended to give a gift of high monetary value either. It will create an uncomfortable situation for both your concierge and you. So it’s best not give any tips. 

If you want to show your gratitude, you can offer them something small and of minimal monetary value – like a postcard from your area or hometown. However, if you only politely and verbally express your gratitude, that’s more than enough in Japan!

Related: Planning a Tokyo trip? Let me help you with the itinerary! Check it out here!

Tipping in Japan Bars

Tipping in bars in Japan or a Japanese Izakaya is also frowned upon – at least in the conventional way of tipping. Don’t tip the waiting staff and the Izakaya or the bartender for their exceptional service – tipping is considered to be weird in Japan. 

But you can show your gratitude by tipping in non-monetary ways – like, for example, buy an extra round of drinks and offer one to the bartender to show your appreciation. And yes, before you ask, bartenders are allowed to drink on the job (we’re cool like that here in Japan!). 

Tipping Ski Guides in Japan

Tipping your tour guides in Japan is not necessary either but if you want to tip them it’s not considered rude either. Tipping tour guides in Japan is one of the exceptions when it comes to tipping in Japan.

But make sure you slip clean bills of cash into an envelope and present it to your tour guide with both hands and bow slightly when you do so. In no circumstances, should you give cash directly out of your wallet. 

Related: Plan your Tokyo trip during the Cherry Blossom season for an amazing experience. Check the forecast here!

How Much Do You Tip In Tokyo?

Tipping in Japan is not common practice and so tipping in Tokyo is not a common practice either. It’s best to not tip during your Tokyo visit to avoid any confusion or chaos.

If you’re an American, you’d tipping almost anybody in the service industry. This is common in other countries as well. But in Japan, the service industry is pretty well paid so the tipping culture never took root in Japan.

Why tipping culture is popular in America and other countries is probably because of how underpaid the restaurant wait staff or drivers are. But that’s not the case in Japan.

More often than not, if you leave a tip at Japanese restaurants, the waiter or waitress will come running behind you, thinking you forgot the change. Which is why, the best thing to is not tip for services in Tokyo you’re already paying for!

tipping in kyoto

I know it might seem confusing since in the US it’s common practice to tip your waiter. In fact, it’s considered rude if you don’t leave tips for the waiter in the US.

Related: Want to catch the exciting sumo match in Tokyo? Here’s how you can get the tickets!

Tipping in Okinawa Japan

Tipping in Japan or any part of the country is not customary, including Okinawa. It’s usually frowned upon and, more often than not, rejected. Sometimes, they may accept the tip so as to not offend you but the general rule is to not give any tips. 

Think of it as, you go to a supermarket and decide to tip the cashier. The cashier is definitely going to be confused because tipping here is not necessary at all, as the cashier is only doing his job!

That’s exactly what the Japanese mindset and work culture is like. They do not feel the need to be paid extra by the customer just because they’re doing their job. Tipping is not a part of the Japanese culture and so the working staff never expects to be tipped either. 

**The Japanese staff when you tip**

A polite arigato (thanks) and a bow is all that’s required to show your appreciation and gratitude in Japan!

Related: Stay connected with your friends and family while in Japan. Here’s how you can buy a tourist SIM Card in Tokyo!

Tipping in Kyoto Japan

Tipping in Kyoto, Japan is not accepted either. Unlike the American culture where tipping is the norm, in Japan tipping is seen as crude or may be even taken as an insult. So be careful if you decide to tip in Japan. The person you’re tipping (be it a waiter at a restaurant or a hairdresser in Japan) may take offense if you just give a wad of cash out of your wallet. 

The best thing to do is, bring something small and of least monetary value – like a postcard – from your country to leave as a token of gratitude. Or you can place some bills in an envelope and present it to the person – here, again, be careful who you tip – not everybody appreciates it. If you’re not sure the best thing is to skip giving the tip and simply say thank you (extra points if you say it in Japanese!) 

Related: If there’s one thing you cannot miss while in Tokyo it’s the Mario Kart street tour, Here’s everything you need to know about it!

Do you tip taxi drivers in Japan?

You don’t tip taxi drivers in Japan. But say it was late and raining cats and dogs, and your taxi driver was extremely helpful.

tipping in japan 2020

Then there’s a way you can do it without making it obvious. Once you’ve reached your destination and, say, your taxi charges come up to 4,500 JPY, you can hand the driver 5,000 JPY (and mention that you don’t have change) and politely request the driver to keep the change. 

Tipping Rules In Japan: FAQs

#1 — Why do Japanese people not tip?

Tipping in Japan is not a norm. It was never a part of their culture as it’s considered rude, or just plain weird. The Japanese will offer you their best services because they’re hard working people. But in return, all they want is to be treated with respect and dignity. You can show your appreciation by simply being polite and verbally expressing your gratitude – say arigato-gozaimasu

#2 — Do you tip delivery drivers in Japan

You do not tip delivery drivers in Japan. The Japanese culture doesn’t recognise tipping as a way of showing appreciation but it is rather considered rude. Though in some cases, the person may accept it. So you can try and give the delivery driver a tip but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t accept it! 

#3 — Do you tip uber eats in Japan

Tipping in Japan is considered to be rude, so avoid tipping while your in Japan – including your Uber eats delivery person. The best thing to do is be polite and say thank you when they drop off your order!

#4 — Do you tip hairdressers in Japan

You don’t have to tip your hairdressers in Japan, it’s not expected of you and nor will it be accepted. Instead, tipping in Japan is frowned upon. 

#5 — When tipping is acceptable in Japan?

Is most cases it’s not. However, if you’ve taken a guided tour you can give a 10% tip to your tour guide by placing some money in a shugi bukoro or money envelope. High-end restaurants and ryokans may add 10-15% gratuity charges which will be clearly labeled in the bill. You can consider this as a tip as well (even though you’re not choosing to pay or not). If you get a chance to have a private dinner with a Geisha, it’s acceptable to tip. Again, be respectful and place the tip in a clean envelope and hand it over with two hands and a slight bow.

Also Read:

  1. Can’t decide where to stay in Japan? Here’s a comparison between Japanese Ryokans and Hotels
  2. For a unique experience check in to a capsule hotel in Tokyo
  3. You have to try these delicious snacks from 7-eleven in Japan!
  4. Here are some budget accommodation options for solo traveler near train stations in Japan. Check it out!
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