1The story


A Japanese travel specialist made a post on Reddit based on his personal experiences with some American tourists who decided to go ahead and reserve an entire host of restaurants in Japan for their convenience, cancelling some reservations at the eleventh hour for the restaurants that they were unable to visit.

The post highlighted the culture in Japan surrounding restaurant reservations, with the specialist warning that such behavior inadvertently affects future tourists, who don’t get reservations because the restaurant owners refuse to book a place for them, fearing cancellation.

His critical tone and opinion on the matter has created a big controversy among users, with people both agreeing and disagreeing with what he had to say. The post also sparked many debates about whether this kind of attitude is justified or not. Take a look at the post yourself:

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” I’m a Japan travel specialist, working in the luxury, very high end category. This post is intended to offer some advice to those heading to Japan who want to eat out at the top/famous restaurants particularly but is (I hope) useful advice for all.

 

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A lot of our clients come to us with long lists of restaurants they want us to book for them and ask for reservations to be made for each night. They do this fully intending to cancel some of them nearer the time but like to have the bookings in place. This is especially true of clients from the US.

This sort of approach leads to a lot of problems and I want to explain why.

In the US, it seems, it is perfectly normal and acceptable to make restaurant reservations and then cancel. I don’t know how the restaurant trade in the US feels about this but in Japan, it is not at all the way things are done and it definitely leads to bad feelings and closed doors.

This year alone, we have been told by 3 separate restaurants that they will no longer accept reservations from foreign tourists because of so many cancellations. Many restaurants in Japan are small and the chef will plan and prepare based on the number of reservations he has each night. If clients cancel, this either means wasted food or empty seats, neither of which are good for them.

Of course everyone understands that sometimes reservations have to be cancelled when there’s an unavoidable reason but we see so many clients who ask us to book and then cancel because they no longer feel like going or another restaurant was available. This approach may well be fine back home but in Japan, it is considered very poor manners and bewilders the owners/chefs because they cannot understand why foreigners behave like this.

Of course I know that food and eating out is a major reason for many people going to Japan and that’s great. All I want visitors to understand is that there is a very different culture and perspective in regard to reservations so if you book a table, while thinking at the back of your mind that you may well cancel later if something better comes up or if you just don’t feel like it on the day, you are not only being extremely rude, you are potentially ruining the chances of any other foreign visitor going to that restaurant at a later date.

TLDR: Please don’t try to prebook meals for every night of your trip to Japan and please don’t make reservations unless you definitely want to eat at that restaurant because cancellations are bad for everyone.

PS: Please don’t PM me asking about booking restaurants for you!


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It is no wonder that a lot of people like to share their own two cents about such situations, and the same applied to this one.

There were comments that shone out brightly amongst all the other ones because a lot of people liked them, and there were those that created controversy, attracting a range of opposing opinions and sparking debates.

Time to look at the top more liked comments! 

I’ve seen people on here saying how they have booked a back up hotel/air bnb/ restaurant and I always think the same. It’s rude and can damage a business why people think it’s acceptable or recommend it is beyond me!
AntoniB

Great post. Honestly speaking didn’t realise people did this as you described. It should be obvious (but obviously isn’t) that it’s selfish and unacceptable behaviour.We book restaurants for our clients and haven’t had this problem yet. Most of our clients are from Singapore so wonder if it’s a US cultural thing. To give the benefit of the doubt perhaps it’s a cultural misunderstanding?
IvanK

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