Etiquette for Receiving Seasonal Gifts (お中元 & お歳暮) from Business Associates in Japan

【Koshida Accounting Firm Column Date:

Hi, my name is Taisei Koshida, and I am a certified public accountant and tax accountant.


I aim to assist non-Japanese business owners who need help with reading or writing in Japanese. If you find the Japanese tax return system challenging, I can help you with your tax filings.


This blog may help if you are unclear about”お中元” and “お歳暮” in Japan.






What Are “お中元” and “お歳暮” in Japan?

In Japan, there is a custom of giving gifts called “お中元” in July, before the Bon Festival, and “お歳暮” at the end of the year. These traditions aren’t only practiced among individuals like family and friends but also in business settings between companies. The gifts are primarily food and drink items. However, this tradition has been waning among the younger generations.


“お中元” and “お歳暮” in A Business Context in Japan

Unilateral gifts, such as those sent to client companies, are common in the business world. The standard etiquette for companies that receive such gifts is to write and send thank-you letters. There is no obligation to send a return gift.



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