- Tokyo’s 60,000 taxis are of great use – particularly when you consider that despite having the most efficient rail system in the world, the distance between point “a” and point “b” can sometimes be shorter if you are traveling on the road. Taxi rates begin at approximately US$7.50 for the first 2 kilometers of travel, and then increase by approximately US$1.00 per half kilometer thereafter. An average taxi fare for a 20-minute trip would likely be between US$25 and US$30. After 10 p.m. taxi fares increase by around 20 percent.Most taxi drivers understand some limited English, and the vast majority of cabs now have GPS systems that can get you to your destination by providing the driver with your intended address, and in some cases, just your destination’s telephone number.
Taxis are generally easy to hail – available taxis can be spotted by looking for red LED characters displayed in the windshield on the passenger side of the vehicle and identifying if the taxi’s roof light/signage is alit. A number of taxi stands exist in Tokyo and while the signs for the taxi stands are written in Japanese, the long line of taxis is pretty hard to miss. Taxi stands can most commonly be found in heavily populated areas or in front of prominent buildings in the city. As a service to passengers, the rear left passenger-side door opens and closes automatically – so remember to avoid reaching for the handle, and stand clear of the door as the taxi pulls to a stop. Generally speaking the rear right passenger door is not used. The front passenger door is not automatic.
Japanese law requires that all passengers in a car wear a seat belt. Taxicabs are very clean and safe, although an increasing number of taxis now use interior cameras for the driver’s protection as there have been a number of robberies.
Taxis can be called for pickup (for a few hundred yen extra charge). Most taxi dispatchers can speak some limited English:
- Nihon Kotsu: 03-5755-2336
- Tokyo Yellow Cab: 03-3521-8880
- MK Taxi: 03-5547-5551
- Tomin Kotsu: 03-3317-6333