Japanese hospitality “Omotenashi”

Japanese culture

My name is Satomi : Tokyo “Shitamachi” Local town Concierge of Susy’s Zoo Japanese & Nail.

Most people in the world might know “OMOTENASHI” because of a presentation for Olympic.

How do you understand “Omotenashi” in Japan?

For example,

・It must be Japanese hospitality.

・it must be Japanese manner.

・Japan is beautiful country because of “OMOTENASHI” spirit.

・It is a great OMOTENASHI for a president from foreign country to be prepare Sofa when he watched SUMO at Ryogoku kokugikan.

and so on.

I’m also “Omotenashi concierge” so I’m worried about most people understand “OMOTENASHI” or not.

I had read most men want Ms. Takigawa (had presentation) to do Omotenashi. But if somebody do “Omotenashi” to you, you have to answer by “Omotenashi”.

Today, I will introduce Japanese hospitality “OMOTENASHI”.

What is “OMOTENASHI” ?

“OMOTENASHI” is one of hospitality does not expect anything in return.

Japanese who do “OMOTENASHI” do without anything in return, you would be comfortable and would be happy.

But if somebody do “Omotenashi” for you, you have to answer even if you are customer.

Of course Japanese can do “OMOTENASHI” ?

“OMOTENASHI” is very Unique Japanese hospitality.

We can also understand it from Japanese language.

We understand Japanese is  “group mentality” when we think Japanese people from Japanese language.

Japanese people tend to have “group mentality” is too self‐conscious. That’s why we are sensitive.

For example, 

① Japanese think they made by the people around them and accept all of people around them.

②Think as a parson of a group.

For example,

When Mr or ms.Tanaka lend my mother money, we say 「田中さんがお母さんにお金を貸してくれた。」

田中さんがMr or Ms Tanakaお母さんにmother お金を money 貸して lent くれたgive.

Japanese can tell somebody instead of our mother even if you don’t say “My mother said Mr.Tanaka lent her his money”.

In this case, Japanese expression  my mother is like same as me because of “group mentality”.

One of Japanese concept, “Inside” and “Outside”.

For example, in Japanese mother is “Okaasan” and “Haha”.

Probably, It is similar my mother and my mom.

When we talk about my mother,

If I talk to my father, I usually say “Okaasan” is… because my father is inside.

But if I talk to a parson at my company, I usually say “Haha”.

I usually say “Okaasan” if I talk to close parson even if outside.

③ “Arigatou” in Japanese is translated “Thank you” in English.

But the origin “Arigatou” means it is difficult to be. It means Hardly ever/Rarely/Seldom/almost never.

Nothing should be taken for granted.

For example,  if you give a Japanese a present , she or he would say “Arigatou”.

It means…

It is not be taken for granted to get a present from somebody.

When we think “Arigatou”, It focus on “you” instead of “me”.

When you think about how to communicate, how to move and what to give for the other person, you would be not selfish.

For example, 

We say “Thank you very much” when we get off a bus to a driver.

It means “Thank you to the driver who took me to my destination safely”.

Japanese of group mentality give attention to people around us, think about people around us, think about what makes people around us happy and act.

That’s why Japanese should be able to do “Omotenashi” without return.

We need special abilities and the sensibility that people are done “OMOTENASHI” feel joy or not and they are satisfied with our “OMOTENASHI” or not.

if you follow the manual, you could not do “OMOTENASHI”.

Japanese could do “OMOTENASHI” but recently, most Japanese company standardize.

But The original Japanese don’t need to follow the manual.

People say “If the company has a great manual , it must be a great company” for a period of time. 

Is it the cause of this? 

I feel that the number of Japanese people who can respond flexibly has decreased.

As globalization progresses, I feel that Japan is also changing to a relatively easy and easy expression of familiarity and an emphasis on active hospitality.

“Omotenashi” disappeared from the town in Japan

Japanese people of “group mentality” naturally have “Omotenashi” in our services.

You will see”Oshibori” when you go to a restaurant.

If you shop at a convenience store, they will put it in a bag so that you can take it home easily. The stores were prepared a bag for you by free before. But now they want us to pay for bag and staff wait we finish to put goods in our bag with looking at us in front of us.

If you knew that “OMOTENASHI” is one of important Japanese culture, and if you were concerned about the environment, you would have responded by changing the bag that is good for the earth like Starbucks changed the straw into paper.

It is important things for Japanese  in this global society

Japanese of “group mentality” tend to go along with people.

One fo them, Japanese tend to go along with people from foreign countries.

We have to speak English when we talk to tourists from foreign countries even if they speak Japanese and adjust to the foreign culture too much.

For example, Japanese government were prepare sofa when a president from foreign country and watch Sumo at Ryogoku kokugikan before.

I think it is too much “OMOTENASHI”.

If I do “OMOTENASHI”, I want tourist to feel Japan. So I will explain about traditional seat, watching Sumo for Japanese, want them traditional seat and so on.

Japanese might not understand “OMOTENASHI”.

“OMOTENASHI” at Sushi bar

Sushi is very famous in the world now.

There are many “OMOTENASHI” at  authentic sushi bar.

For example, if you go to a restaurant in Japan, you will get water by free and green tea at authentic sushi bar. It is also “OMOTENASHI”.

Of course, sushi chef and staff do “OMOTENASHI” for you. 

If staff do “OMOTENASHI” for you, you also have to do “OMOTENASHI”. 

For example, 

If you go to  a restaurant, what do you think what you can do ?

Even if you pay for meal at restaurant, there are many people work for the meal you order.

For example, chef, waiter/waitress, food materials, farmer and so on. All of these is “OMOTENASHI”.

Answer is not only one.

For example, 

we say Itadaki masu” before a meal and “Gochiso sama” after a meal.

We eat without leaving.

We consider other customers.

We Put the dishes together on the table for waiter/waitress after meal.

and so on.

In Japan, it is taboo for us to leave rice even if a grain of rice.



I think “OMOTENASHI” in Japan is decreased because of globalization.

But I think you will have an experience of “OMOTENASHI” at no globalization places.

If you want to have an experience of “OMOTENASHI”, I recommend you go to “Shitamachi” in Tokyo. (I will tell you “Shitamachi” next time.)

If you are interested in Sushi culture, I recommend SUSHIDO with sushi (We also have vegetarian menu) when you visit to Tokyo. You will also have a great experience of “OMOTENASHI”.

If you are interested in Shitamachi(Do you know Shitamachi?) ,secret spots in Tokyo and Japanese casual conversation for trip, I recommend Online Japanese lesson.