It is always difficult to know where it is expected to leave a tip and in that country that expect a tip, how much should you leave? Well in Japan it is very simple as there is no tipping!
In Japan tipping is not customary. Not only is it not customary and not expected it is almost an insult if you do leave a tip in Japan. The Japanese culture sees tipping as pity. Each person should work hard for the money they earn.
Before I knew that tipping was not expected in Japan, I was in a bar in Shinjuku, one of the many Hub British Pubs you find all over Tokyo. It was very quiet when I went in. I went up to the bar and ordered a pint of Kirin beer. I paid for my beer and the barman gave me my change. I left 50 Yen on the bar which is normal in places like Australia and Britain. In those countries the bar staff take the change from the bar and put it into a tip jar and share amongst the staff at the end of the day. I took my pint of Kirin beer over to a table and a few seconds later the barman had walked out from behind the bar and handed me the 50 Yen coin and said ‘Oh you left your change on the bar’.
Unlike other countries like the US where bar staff earn a very small amount and depend on the tips to make a decent living, in Japan the bar staff earn a decent wage, not a fantastic wage but enough to live on so there is no dependency on receiving tips.
The one exception to this rule about not tipping in Japan is in Fine Dining Restaurants. It is quite common to tip a waiter or waitress in a fine dining restaurant where you are paying more than $100 or more per person. I asked a friend about this when we visited Mango Tree Thai Restaurant and she said it is perfectly fine to tip in a fine dining restaurant. I tipped our waiter there 2000 Yen and he had a big smile on his face when he realised I gave him a tip. I had paid by credit card and left the 2000 Yen in cash in the wallet with the bill in it.
So enjoy Japan knowing tipping is not expected. It makes it so much easier paying at restaurants, just pay the amount on the bill. Easy!
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