Taxi in Japan. Yea or Nay?
Taxi companies in every country around the world have unique and special characteristics. For example in New York, USA the taxi is famous for its prominent yellow color, or Bangkok, Thailand where they have colorful Tricycles called “Tuk Tuks” with their dizzying speed; and so taxis in Japan also have many interesting things that I could personally experience...
For me, taking a taxi in Japan is a very exciting experience
I already used the taxi service a few times, but in comparison to other countries the costs are quite high. For the same route the costs are about 5 or 6 times higher than taking the public bus. However, it’s the most convenient option when driving in the early morning, late evening or when carrying heavy things.
And in fact, it’s really nice to take a taxi in Japan. The service of the companies are very good, the drivers are hospitable and always dressed up properly wearing a dark suit, white gloves and a neat hat. In addition, they pick you up very fast, drive safely and there is also a glass pane between the front and back seats. That’s why I never have to worry about anything when taking this kind of transportation in Japan.
As in other places, there are a lot of different taxi companies in Japan, each with a different vehicle color. Although the color of the cars are not always the same, the Japanese taxi is mostly a four-seater with a rectangular shape creating a classy look. I especially like the shape of the taxi and because of its strange appearance, its small size and pretty look it’s very easy to recognize it on the crowded roads too. Moreover, taxis in Japan are very modern with doors that automatically open and close for guests.
There is another special thing when taking a taxi. Besides calling the company directly to make a reservation or flagging a taxi on the road, the Japanese government built taxi stops (like a bus stop) on big roads.
So if you want to take a taxi, you just need to go to the stop and there will immediately be one. For foreign tourists and international students like me, it's difficult to make a taxi call in Japanese, because most taxi companies don’t have English-speaking staff. So a pick-up station like this is much more convenient.
Furthermore, I have a tip for you: This is a lesson I’ve learned when using the taxi service for my recent trip to the airport when heading home.
I had a flight at 7am from Japan, so I decided to book a taxi to the airport for around 4am. The afternoon before I tried to make a reservation by phone call as there is no extra charge for booking in advance and more benefits than in the early morning. Although I have called a lot of companies, all of them declined because all taxis were already reserved.That’s why I decided to start earlier and to walk to the airport that morning (my house wasn’t that far from the airport, walking would take about 1h).
However, when I left the house, I could immediately get a taxi that parked in front of a convenience store. And along the way I could see some other taxis waiting in front of other convenience stores. At that moment, I just noticed that after the drivers had dropped off their guests or are still waiting for them, they usually wait in front of convenience stores.
So if you want to take a taxi in the early morning, you only need to go to any nearby convenience store to find one and thus you can save time.
I usually pay by cash when taking a taxi, because it’s fast and convenient. Just by looking at the display in the car, you know the amount of money you need to pay. In addition, when taking a taxi in Japan you can also pay by credit card. But as I experienced, depending on the driver, it could happen that the driver doesn’t know how to use the card scanner on the car or the card machine doesn’t work, and thus problems such as loss of time or incorrect payment may occur. So, better have some cash in your pocket when taking a taxi.
Is it possible to call Uber or Grab instead of a traditional taxi?
I got asked by a lot of my friends when they first arrived in Japan. The answer is, that Japanese people don’t use Uber and Grab instead of traditional taxis, because taxis in Japan are really modern with strict rules, good service quality and it’s likely that they improve even more in the future. That’s why Japanese people and tourists can fully rely on this service.
Traveling by taxi in Japan may be expensive, but I think it’s extremely convenient because of the good and safe service. Surely, I will continue using this service in the future and I will gain more good experiences to share with you all.
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