Quick and Simple Tips for Catching a Taxi in Japan

Quick and Simple Tips for Catching a Taxi in Japan

Taking a taxi might seem like a simple task, but have you ever taken one in Japan?
The etiquette for taking taxis in Japan is quite different from the UK, the US, or other Western countries.

Getting a Taxi

Just like in most countries, as you are walking down the street, all you need to do is hold your hand out and a taxi will stop for you.
But, it is worth learning how to recognize the Kanji that will be lit up in the taxi window.
“空車” means open taxi, so you can call this taxi for any journey you need.
This Kanji is usually shown lit up in red, which may be confusing to many foreigners as red usually means “no,” but in this case, it’s a good thing!

Taxi Doors

Something that can take some time getting used to are the taxi doors.
In Japan, passengers usually sit on the back seat and in this case, do not touch the doors.
When a taxi pulls up, the driver will press a button, and the door will open automatically.
The same happens when you get out.
So you do not need to open and close the door by yourself as if you’re royalty.
The same goes with any luggage you need to place into the trunk/boot of the car.
The driver will open that for you, too.

Inside the Taxi

This part is pretty similar to taxis everywhere!
They have a meter that will run for the whole journey, and the price is calculated for the time and distance it takes.
Also, don’t worry if you can’t speak Japanese.
Many taxi drivers in Japan will have a point-and-speak sheet with all the information you need.
But if it’s possible, have someone write down the address of the place you want to go to in Japanese so that the taxi driver can find it easily.
If you can’t do this, then try and have it on a map.
Most taxi drivers have navigation systems in their cars, so they can use that to find your destination.

Hopefully, these tips will help you out when you’re in need of a taxi in Japan!
Do you have any experience with Japanese taxis?
How are they different from your country?