How to Take a Taxi in Japan
The public transport system in Japan is renowned for being one of the best in the world. However, there are limitations as there are everywhere so you need to be aware of what happens if you miss the last train home.
You have been out sampling some of the incredible nightlife in Shibuya or Shinjuku and you decide at 2 o’clock in the morning that it is time to get some shut-eye. After all, you do want to be awake during the Kabuki tour the following day. So you head to the nearest train station only to discover that the last train left the station 2 hours ago. The buses stopped about an hour before that. Oops, what now? Your best option would be to take a taxi. Here are some tips on how to take a taxi anywhere in Japan.
- At any station there is a taxi rank or you can just go to the nearest busy street. When you see an empty taxi simply raise your arm. (There is a display in the front left hand window showing whether the taxi is occupied or out of service but it is written in Japanese characters.)
- Wait for the door to open. The driver will open the door using a button so do not step forward to grab the door handle.
- Enter the taxi and again the door will close automatically.
- Instruct the driver where to go. Most drivers don’t speak English. The best idea is to carry a business card from your hotel. If you don’t have that and the driver seems confused by your pronunciation or accent, try writing the destination in English as Japanese people have a better reading ability than conversational.
- The driver will start the meter. Fees are based on distance travelled and there are extra charges for late night trips.
- At your destination, you pay the amount indicated on the meter. Tips are not required. Some taxis do take credit cards and this fact is clearly noted on the window.
- The driver will open the door again and after you get out, he will close it.
Travelling by taxi becomes quite economical and convenient if you have 4 people travelling together, especially in smaller towns where public transport may be less frequent. It is safe and drivers will not rip you off so you can relax and enjoy the ride. Most city taxis are now non-smoking, although many drivers smoke in their cars between fares.
This content was provided by one of our users, Penny