Japanese “Omotenashi” 〜 attention, consideration, and heartwarming service

Have you ever heard the word, “Omotenashi” ?

進化系日本旅館「星のや東京」で楽しむ、最高級のおもてなし。日本の魅力を再発見! - ITをもっと身近に。ソフトバンクニュース

 “Omotenashi,” translated as “hospitality” in English, which refers the service with full of the most dedicated and exquisite manners.

In addition, “hospitality” does not mean the machine-like response to a large number of unspecified people, or rather it is the special service with a consideration  examining  how to give a satisfaction to this particular person all the time. It could  be said as the first-rate service.

Now, some of you may wonder this “hospitality” has been provided in many countries, however, as a matter of fact Japanese hospitality is a bit different.  Japanese hospitality has been deeply rooted and developed diversely in its culture, and this spirit of hospitality is still continuously giving many foreigners a pleasant surprise. When contending to bring the Olympic to Tokyo in 2020, an ambassador Christel Takigawa made a speech regarding “Japanese hospitality” in French.  When she ended her speech with a word of “OMOTENASHI,” it became a sensational and successful introduction to the world.  Then, “omotenashi,” the spirit of Japanese hospitality has been spread all over the world, and chosen as the first-ranked buzzwords-of-the-year  0f 2013 in Japan.

日本はおもてなしの精神のせいで没落していく - 世の中を斜めから見るウェブマガジン - 世界は今日も回っている -
Christel Takigawa

Then, Japanese hospitality which Japanese people have taken this as granted, how does this spirit make foreigners moved?  Let’s see the actual scene.

First of all, this is frequently seen at the hotel, traditional Japanese Inn, and restaurants.  No matter how much costs you pay, you will receive the wholehearted hospitality. 

It creates an ambiance of tranquility and relaxation where the guests will experience unforgettable moments at ease, but at the same time this is considered to be the way of business and a strategy taken by the Japanese hospitality industry.

Next, let’s hear some words of impression by foreign visitors when they received Japanese hospitality.

“Staffs of our hotel always greet and talk to us with a gentle smile.”

“At the hotel or restaurants, staffs have prepared a small gift to my kids, and it made us moved a lot.”

“Supposed that our side, customers apparently have faults, but staffs responded it all with cares and considerations.”

Furthermore, you can experiment a variety of hospitality and heart-warmed service everywhere and every day in Japan.

The meaning of “Omotenashi” goes way deeper than just providing outstanding hospitality as the original meaning is to entertain the guests with full of hearts, such as at hotels, restaurants, airplanes, busses, trains, other transportation, travel agencies, amusement park, and whole hospitality industry. Whereas, you will see hospitality everywhere.  It does not restrict to the commercial hospitality industry. As you see below, you will see it frequently in a daily life in Japan.

For example, have you not been surprised by its strict time management of Japanese train at your first ride?  Besides, the train arrived even one-minute later than the expected time, but the conductor may give you a polite apology as a delay announcement.

Also, at the café, we may feel very moved when provided a warm hand towel and a glass of cold water.


Usually we do not pay an attention on this small thing, but the vending machine maintains both warmed and cold drinks properly, this would be one of Japanese hospitality.

Moreover, the public toilets are always kept clean, and toilets have equipped the flush sound to get rid of your stress while you are using, these are all pleasant surprise to the foreigners at their first visit.

Những điều cần biết về việc sử dụng bồn cầu thông minh kiểu Nhật | tsunagu  Japan

Well then, what is the best “Omotenashi” you have encountered in Japan?^^

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