Friday, April 2, 2010

Tipping at ryokans?


It%26#39;s off to Tokyo in less than 48 hours and I still haven%26#39;t figured this one out!

First I%26#39;ve read there typically is no tipping in Japan and that it can be considered rude and embarrassing to do so. But then I%26#39;ve also read posts that say people will sometimes tip at ryokans, especially if a service fee is not charged or if it costs more than Y20,000 / person. Advice for tipping has ranged from Y1,000 at most to Y10,000 at least. All very confusing. At least everyone seems to agree that the tip must be put in an envelope and be given to the person who takes you to the room when you first check in.

We will be staying a night at Mikawaya ryokan in Hakone (25,000/person) with in room kaiseki and bath.

I%26#39;d like to tip if that is customary at such a ryokan, but if it is not expected then I won%26#39;t. And if I do need to, I%26#39;d like to do it the right way.


Tipping at ryokans?

I can%26#39;t speak for others, but I have never tipped in Japan.

Tipping at ryokans?

neither have I, at ryokans of all price ranges, at the advise of our corporate clients in Japan.

You%26#39;d better tip in a mid to high range ryokan for certain. In general, you don%26#39;t tip in Japan, but ryokan is an exception. You%26#39;re expected to tip to your server when you first meet her. I usually tip 5,000-10,000 yen depending on the class of the ryokan. Yes, please put it in a small envelope. I%26#39;d be embarrassed if I don%26#39;t tip in a ryokan. It really is customary--take it from a native Japanese.

5,000+ Yen?!?

Are we talking ALL ryokans, or just top-end ones? Because that makes them a lot more expensive than the rack rates imply, and it doesn%26#39;t seem to be common knowledge or widely advertised...

%26gt;%26gt;%26gt;Are we talking ALL ryokans, or just top-end ones? Because that makes them a lot more expensive than the rack rates imply, and it doesn%26#39;t seem to be common knowledge or widely advertised%26lt;%26lt;%26lt;

No, if you%26#39;re staying in a budget ryokan (less than 10,000 yen/person) there is no need to tip. I%26#39;m only talking about mid to high end ryokans (20,000/pp and up.)

It%26#39;s never advertised or asked, but it%26#39;s the social norm and common knowledge in Japan. I guess foreigners can get away with not tipping in a nice ryokan but if a native Japanese doesn%26#39;t tip, s/he will be considered cheap.

I%26#39;d have to agree with Sammyfloyd. I stayed in the Ryokan Kangetsu last summer and did not tip a bit. I heard no one mention tipping either.

There%26#39;s a person who is ';assigned'; to your room at a ';real'; ryokan. And Mikawaya would definitely be a ryokan that is frequented by locals as well as foreign tourists. It%26#39;s a nice gesture (and an unadvertised local custom) to give a tip to your assigned person (usually a female called a ';nakai-san';) before your stay. Ditto on what Shibuyakko said. They sell little envelopes for ';gift giving'; purposes at a stationery store. Or wrap the money in a tissue paper. When she brings the tea, you can give her the money. Put it on the table and push it towards her. Smile and say ';arigato gozaimasu.'; :-)

Although Japan is known for ';no tipping,'; tips are accepted. I mean, who would say no to extra money? lol What irritates me is going to countries that EXPECTS tipping, no matter what the service!!!

Enjoy your stay!

I have never tipped at a ryokan, but my Japanese friends who stay at high-end Japanese inns (30,000 yen per night or so) say at THOSE places, it is not uncommon to tip. Not everyone tips, though.

If you dig through some old threads, whether tipping at high-end ryokans is needed is disputed among Japanese locals on the forum.

You should put a tip in a small envelope. It is expected from Japanese people and would be a nice surprise from a foreigner. It depends on the level of the place but I%26#39;ve only stayed at medium grade ones and have always tipped in an envelope, usually Y2000-Y3000, depending on the place. Shibuyakko-san stays at places far above where I stay and you can leave a little more there.

It will be well-received if you do it and not considered an insult or out of place.

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