Taxi Travel

Taxis are an expensive way of getting around cities in Japan, although nascent deregulation moves are easing the market a little. In Tokyo, for instance, the first 2 km (1 mile) cost ¥730 and it's ¥90 for every additional 280 meters (400 yards). Between 10 pm and 5 am there is a 20% service charge on top of that. If possible, avoid using taxis during rush hours (7:30 am–9:30 am and 5 pm–7 pm).

In general, it's easy to hail a cab: do not shout or wave wildly—simply raise your hand if you need a taxi. Japanese taxis have automatic door-opening systems, so do not try to open the taxi door. Stand back when the cab comes to a stop—if you are too close, the door may slam into you. When you leave the cab, do not try to close the door; the driver will do it automatically. Only the curbside rear door opens. A red light on the dashboard (visible through the front window) indicates an available taxi, and a green light indicates an occupied taxi.

Drivers are for the most part courteous, though not necessarily chatty. Unless you're going to a well-known destination such as a major hotel, it's advisable to have a Japanese person write out your destination in Japanese. Your hotel concierge can do this for you. Remember, there is no need to tip.

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