Tipping in Japan or leaving gratuity is often viewed as being rude.
Although you may find someone willing to accept your cash handout, leaving a tip is not a part of Japanese culture and can possibly even be misconstrued as an insult!
- Use this tipping guide for Asia to know when and where it is polite to leave tips.
Proper Tipping in Japan
On the rare occasion that you actually need to give a tip in Japan, do so by putting the money inside of a tasteful, decorative envelope and seal it. Hand it to the recipient with a slight bow; do not expect them to open your "gift" right away.
Pulling cash out of your pocket in full view of the recipient is the worst way to give a tip in Japan.
Tipping Hotel Staff
Although tipping is accepted in some five-star, Western hotels, most of the hotel staff that you will encounter are trained to politely refuse tips and tokens of gratuity.
Sometimes offering a tip in Japan will result in an issue with the concept of "face." Someone may accept your tip even if they are uncomfortable with doing so, just to keep you from losing face when they refuse.
- Read more about the concept of saving face in Asia.