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tip the maid?

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Boston
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tip the maid?

I thought I read somewhere here that the only person to tip in Japan is the hotel maid that comes to tidy up your room. I saw my maid the first day at the Westin so I presented her with 1000 yen but she absolutely refused. I bowed and insisted take it and she again refused. Now I'm confused; do you tip them or not?

Kyoto, Japan
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for Kobe, Kyoto
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1. Re: tip the maid?

I've never tipped them in Japan and I am with 4 Japanese people right now and they just said no.

Tokyo, Japan
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for Hakone-machi, Minato
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2. Re: tip the maid?

The only tipping I do/did was at nice ryokans (as that is traditionally the correct manner at a nice ryokan), but in the end, they gave me small gift in return.

I've never tipped in Japan, except in taxis (keep the change concept).

Your service staff was probably shell-shocked! But I'm sure you made her day by your gesture. That would have been thanks enough.

Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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3. Re: tip the maid?

No tipping in Japan is needed. Some people do tip at ryokan and those are the only cases I have heard of.

Tokyo, Japan
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121 reviews
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4. Re: tip the maid?

I've almost never tipped in my entire life in Japan. An exception was made when taxi driver was very helpful by carrying large luggage for me, which he did out of pure generosity (asked him to keep the change).

At ryokans, Nakai maids were very underpaid several decades ago so "tipping" was a wide practice, but now payment is fully formalized (and tax are paid!). You might give a Nakai-san "Kokoro-zuke" (gratuity) before all the service (and might expect extra beer to brought in the middle of the night with snacks, or be taken as advance insurance of some sort when your child might put some holes into paper screen; perhaps a surprise gift in return might be given to you when you leave). A "kokoro-zuke" is a bit more intimate practice than "To Insure Promptness" so it shouldn't be given in bare notes, I think (an envelope of 5,000 for a group of 4-5 people for a 30,000 yen per person ryokan is what I read. The truth is, I've never paid).

Tipping normal hotel maids might just create problems; receiving money for normal work and without receipt is a behavior that might be eyed with suspicion from employers.

Edited: 26 April 2013, 11:53
Boston
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3,113 posts
24 reviews
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5. Re: tip the maid?

Thank you. No tipping is fine with me.

What about the free Tokyo tour guide? Do you tip them? I gave them gifts but still didn't feel right not tipping them cash.

Tokyo, Japan
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24,020 posts
121 reviews
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6. Re: tip the maid?

Well, if they are volunteers who are not at your service as occupation, you don't have to (shouldn't) pay, expect for the expenses. You don't pay friends but offer a drink or lunch. Giving them a present is a nice gesture of gratitude.

There is a difficult issue of people guiding tourists as occupation, without license, and expecting you to pay. Strictly speaking, this is illegal practice (and tax evasion, if s/he earns certain amount of money), undermining job opportunities of licensed interpreter-guides that needs to be protected.

But even thieves have 3/10 reasons, as old Japanese anecdote says (and unlicensed guides who are doing it for daily necessity aren't thieves).

Edited: 26 April 2013, 13:01
Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: tip the maid?

Tothxt-no tipping. Please don't be "that guy" who brings his home customs to another country and figures all is OK. The US has an extensive tipping culture. Japan does not.

London, United...
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2,049 posts
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8. Re: tip the maid?

As others mentioned, only ryokans people give tips. However, it is important to know that one should give the tip to a hostess who takes you to your room since s/he would be the one always taking care of you.

Except this matter, cab drivers would accept small change. There is no necessity to give 15-20% of the fare to a driver like New York, which I believe quite comical.

9. Re: tip the maid?

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