Tipping in Japan

The custom of tipping is not common in Japan as it is in the U.S.  While you can tip a personal driver, photographer, or tour guide if you use these during a visit to Japan, you do not routinely tip the service staff in restaurants, hotels, etc.  Indeed many businesses (including hospitals, and hotels) have a policy against their staff accepting tips. If you receive great service, you might consider giving them a boxed gift, but please keep in mind that some businesses will not allow their employees to accept even an apple.  If you want to try and tip anyway, then prepare brand new bills, place these all with the person side up inside an envelope (as shown in the photo), and pass it to the person you want to tip as unobtrusively as possible.  Be sure to use only brand new bills, otherwise it might be considered an insult.  For your personal driver you can tip openly, but still use new bills in an envelope.  One last word of warning: there are special traditions in Japan for giving gifts to families at weddings and funerals, so be sure to check with someone who can advise you of the proper etiquette before you attend such ceremonies.

Please contact me for more tips & advice in Japan!

Chika Sugiyama

[email protected]

(202) 656-6085