Is it Rude to Give Tips in Japan?

Tipping culture varies from country to country, and in Asia, culture is very different in general than it is in the west.

So, is it rude to give tips in Japan? Read on below and find out the reality of the matter.

Is it Rude to Give Tips in Japan?

It is considered rude to give tips in Japan because the wait-staff culture and economy, in general, are very different than what people are used to in the west. When you tip in Japan, it is like telling the waiter or waitress that they don’t get paid enough and that they need your money. 

So, the next time you consider leaving a tip in Japan, do yourself a favor if you plan on eating in the same place more than once and keep your tip for yourself. Instead, give the staff a few kind words on your way out.

How Rude Is it?

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On a scale of 1 to 10, giving tips in Japan rates 9 on the rude meter. When you understand the culture of tipping in Asian countries, it is extra rude to tip. If you are new to the region, or it is your first visit, most locals can tell and will forgive you (the first time). 

Continuing to tip in Japan after you figure out that it is rude, is, well, rude. Traveling to other countries, and enjoying them to the full capacity includes respecting their cultures as much as possible while you are there. 

Some things that we find polite in the west are rude as heck in Asia, and the other way around as well. Tipping is one of these things.

Why is it Rude?

In Japan, the wait staff is paid well, and are proud of it. They do not want your tips or expect tips. When you do tip them, it is dishonorable to take the tip. So, when your tip is rejected, don’t try to make them take it (or leave it lying on the table) as this just deepens the rudeness.

Other Options to Do Instead

The best thing to do even if you want to tip in Japan is simply to thank the staff instead. If you are very impressed with the service, just let the staff know how appreciative you are. 

In other words, making a commotion about how great the food and service were, on your way out, is a much better way to tip in Japan than leaving them money.

Common Questions

What is rude about tipping?

Tipping in itself is seen as rude in many countries around the world because of a couple of significant reasons; workers are paid fairly in these countries (unlike in many western countries), and the tip is seen as charity or donation.

What Asian country doesn’t like tipping?

Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, and many Asian countries don’t appreciate tipping. In fact, tipping is seen as a personal insult to the staff and establishment. If a tip isn’t accepted, don’t try to force it or you only deepen the insult.

Do all Asian cultures despise tipping?

Asian cultures do despise tipping, at least the big tourist nations like China, Japan, and South Korea. In all of these Asian cultures, it is very offensive to leave or offer a tip. You are much better off simply being polite and expressing your gratitude with words.