Bargaining in Japan

You’ll never get it unless you ask, right?

Everyone loves bargain or discounts. So do I.


In Japan, however, asking for discounts or bargain hardly works, unlike in some other countries.

You will see all the products with prices written/tagged/on stickers and that’s pretty much what you get.

You have a very slim chance to get discounts by asking over the counter.


I don’t really know. It’s just what it is.

From the perspective on the other end, as a business owner, you wouldn’t just give random discounts only because you were asked for it, right? otherwise you’ll keep losing your profit.

In saying that, there is a part of Japan that is common, generally speaking or stereo-typically (I don’t even know if that’s a word but you know what I mean).

That’s Osaka 大阪


It’s widely known in Japan that people in Osaka do bargain or ask for discounts whenever they can.

It’s considered a part of their culture. However, I’m from Tokyo and I’ve never lived in Osaka so I have not seen this side of their culture first hand.

But, at the same time, if you ask any Japanese this question if what I’m saying is true or not, I’m certain you’ll get principally the same answer as mine.

So, if you ever happen to visit that part of Japan, I would recommend to try to ask for some discounts, as a part of the game to enhance your experience while in Japan.

Regional Cultural Differences in Japan

Japan is not a big country.

But at the same time there are so much differences amongst it.

  • Cultural
  • Generational
  • Language-wise

For example, I’m from Tokyo and have been in Nagano for a while now.

I live at a staff accomodation where maybe 50 people at least live.

As a part of Japanese life, we have a public bath.

One time in it while having a bath, there were 2 people from Aomori 青森, which is at the top of the main island, one guy in his 60-70s, the other in his 20s.

At the beginning of their conversation, I could understand that the younger one asked the older one about what happened to his car.

I believe something went wrong with the older guy’s car.

But after that, I had no idea of what was said.

I couldn’t even tell if the car was ok or scrapped, God only knows.

I am not kidding but I quite often struggle even in Nagano, which is not far away from Tokyo, when I speak to mainly local male in his 60s or 70s.

I simply can not understand what they are saying.

So, when you visit Japan, it will make your stay more exciting and memorable if you do some homework on the regional differences within Japan.

It’ll sure give you the deeper insight as well as enhancing your experience.

Good luck and see you next time.

Today’s Phrase

Sukosi Makete Kuremasenka? 少しまけてくれませんか? = Can I have a bit of discount? (In a sort of Osaka way of speaking)





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