Hailing a cab in Tokyo, Japan is fairly straight forward and easy. To hail a cab in Tokyo, you use the generic international method of raising your arm up as you stand on the side of the street. This will work on most roads in Tokyo with the exception of some major roads in the downtown area where taxis are not allowed to stop. If you are looking for a taxi stand try to go to a train station or a major venue and most likely you will find a queue lined up outside.
Tokyo taxis are equipped with lights right above the dashboard to alert customers as to the status of the cab. A red light means a taxi is free to pick up a passenger; a yellow light specifies that the taxi is occupied.
Once you have flagged down a taxi or found one by waiting at a taxi stand, DON’T try to open the door yourself! This may seem very counter-intuitive to a lot of people, but the doors on Tokyo taxis open automatically at the touch of a button by the driver. Likewise, the doors will shut automatically behind you, once you are in the taxi. If you try to open or shut the doors yourself you might find yourself riding with an agitated driver!
Most taxi drivers in Japan don’t speak English, so it is best to have your destination written down on a piece of paper in Japanese. Some taxis are equipped with satellite navigation systems right on the dashboard and the driver will be able to type in the address from your paper. However, some taxis do not have navigation systems yet and it is not uncommon to see your taxi driver pull out a map and try to find the best route. Tokyo is a maze of both major and minor roads so don’t be discouraged if it takes a moment for your driver to figure out where he is going.
Taxi rates in Tokyo are metered and are some of the highest in the world! The initial fare starts at ¥710 for the first 2km (1 1/4 miles) and increases by ¥90 for each additional 288m (950 ft.). You will also be expected to pay about ¥40 for each minute the taxi is stationary. To compare the price of Tokyo Taxis to Rideshare services use RideGuru.
- From 10pm to 5am, an extra 30% will be added to your fare. You will be able to tell when a taxi driver has switched their meter over to the night time fare because a green light will show in the window.
- Expect to pay extra (about ¥400) for booking a taxi for immediate pick up over the phone.
Do taxis take credit cards for payment?
- Taxis in Tokyo can be paid for by all major credit cards, though some taxis require a minimum fare of ¥5,000 in order to use your card. It is also advisable to ask your cab driver ahead of time or to bring cash just in case the machine is broken.
Can you haggle with your taxi driver over the fare?
- There is no negotiating the taxi fare in Tokyo. Taxis are fully regulated and all fares are metered.
Do you tip your taxi driver in Tokyo?
- You are not expected to tip your taxi driver in Tokyo. Many times customers will try to tip their driver and the driver will refuse to accept the money.
Is it true that taxi drivers in Tokyo wear uniforms?
- Yes, Taxi drivers in Tokyo are required to wear spotless uniforms including gloves, a suit, and a cap. Tokyo drivers are put through rigorous driving and etiquette tests in order to become a taxi driver. Part of the professional etiquette that they learn includes strict honesty, meaning that if you happen to lose something in your cab you are likely to get your item back!
Do I have to wear my seatbelt in the cab?
- The law in Tokyo requires that passengers wear seatbelts regardless of whether you are sitting in the front or back seat.
A taxi ride from Narita Airport to Tokyo city center is very expensive. This is in part to the high rates but also because Narita Airport is located about 60km away from the city of Tokyo! On average a taxi ride from Narita Airport to Tokyo is around ¥25,000 to ¥30,000 and could even be more expensive if you are traveling during rush hour traffic. Taxis at the airport are located on the first floor outside both terminals.