When I arrived in Japan, I was stressed out about if I was supposed to tip the taxi driver, the bellman, and the front desk of the hotel, so I guiltily didn’t. My husband frowned. So imagine my delighted surprise when I learned that tipping is not common or expected in Japan.
Typically waiters, taxi drivers, and other people in service do not expect to be tipped. The thinking is that you are already paying for exceptional service, so you don’t need to tip on top of that.
There are some exceptions, if you really experience above-and-beyond service. If you’d like to tip someone, do it privately. Take the waiter aside and thank them for their service. Don’t be surprised if they refuse your money a couple of times…keep offering it. It’s impolite in Japan to accept a gift without refusing it at least twice, so be sure to keep offering.
Whew! With that cleared up, go take that extra money and buy some green tea KitKats.