All About Japan

The Ins & Outs of 'Omotenashi'

Video Deeper Japan Life in Japan

Motenasu, the verb for serving, welcoming and entertaining guests, represents a long-established concept in Japan. But the noun form, omotenashi, became a buzzword in 2013 when it was used to promote Japan's viability to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

Omotenashi can be simply defined as the spirit of hospitality, but it encompasses so much more. It's the extra layer of care for the customer that truly conveys the ideal, from amazingly quick Shinkansen cleaners and the deep bows from department store staff, to the more everyday occurrences such as taxi drivers automatically opening and closing their doors. This spirit of hospitality can be seen all over Japan.

Local hospitality isn't solely a Japanese ideal, of course, and other cultures around the globe have traditions of treating guests as if they were dignitaries. But Japan has taken the principle of impeccable service and made it something you can rely on almost anywhere you go in the country, from the big-city lights to a little countryside inn. Take a look at the video above for a taste of the high-quality care that makes up omotenashi!