How to call a taxi in Japan? Introducing taxi terms and phrases!
Most people use public transportation such as trains and buses to get around in Japan. However, if you are traveling from home to your destination with large luggage, or if you are going to a place far from a bus stop or station, it is convenient to use a taxi. Taxis are more expensive than trains or buses, but it's a good idea to remember how to hail a Japanese taxi in case you need to use one someday.
This time, we will introduce how to call a taxi in Japan and things to keep in mind. We have also compiled some useful taxi terms and phrases to remember, so please use them as a reference.
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How to call a taxi in Japan
There are three ways to call a taxi in Japan:
- Use the app
- call the taxi company
- Ask hotel staff
I will explain each in detail.
Use the app
This is how to call a taxi using a taxi app.
First, download the app from the official website and register the necessary information. All you have to do is set your pick-up and drop-off locations (destination) and request a ride. Don't forget to turn on the GPS function so you can see your current location.
If you are unsure about paying with cash, you may want to use a taxi dispatch app that allows you to pay online.
There are three recommended taxi apps that allow online payment:
- GO (formerly MOV・JapanTaxi)
- Official site:GO is an app that allows you to call a taxi.
- Target areas: Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Ibaraki, Gunma, Miyagi, Hokkaido, Fukuoka, Osaka, Hiroshima, Nara, Kyoto, etc.
- Uber Taxi
- Official site:Uber taxi
- Target area: Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Kyoto, Sapporo, Fukuoka, etc.
- Official site:DiDi《Didi》A taxi app that takes an average of 5 minutes
- Target areas: Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Hokkaido, Fukuoka, Osaka, Shizuoka, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Okinawa, etc.
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call the taxi company
You can also call the taxi company directly to request a taxi. You will be asked for your name, pick-up address, destination address, etc., so please tell them in English or Japanese.
When it's busy, you may not be able to get a ride right away, so we recommend calling in plenty of time.
The three taxi companies that are open 24 hours a day and their contact information are as follows:
- Nihon Kotsu Co., Ltd.
- Phone number: 03-5755-2336
- Official site:NIHON KOTSU
- English-speaking operators are available to assist you.
- Kokusai Automobile Co., Ltd.
- Phone number: 03-5530-6001
- Official site:km taxi
- Teito Motor Transportation Co., Ltd.
- Phone number: 03-3643-6881
- Official site:Teito Motor Transportation
Ask hotel staff
You can also ask the staff at your hotel to call you a taxi.
If you are on the go and want to call a taxi but don't know the contact information, it would be a good idea to ask a staff member.
How to catch a taxi in Japan
In Japan, you can hail a taxi on the roadside or at a station without using an app or phone.
Search on the roadside
In Japan, there are many taxis running throughout the city, so it is relatively easy to find a taxi if you go out on the main street. If a taxi approaches with a "vacant" sign displayed, please signal by raising your hand so the driver can see you.
Be careful on the main street, as it is generally impossible to catch a taxi in the opposite lane.
Search by station
In Japan, there are taxi stands at most stations.
If you are taking a taxi waiting at a taxi stand, be sure to take the first one.
If there is someone waiting, line up at the end of the line and wait your turn.
In most cases, the driver will open the backseat door for you, but if the driver doesn't notice, knock lightly on the window to let them know.
Japanese taxi fares
Taxi fares are the ``initial fare,'' which you always pay when you take a taxi, plus a fee for the distance traveled, and is displayed on the meter inside the car. The starting fare is written on the back seat window or inside the taxi, so it's a good idea to check it before getting in the taxi.
Similarly, there is also information about payment by credit card, etc. If you want to pay by card or electronic money, please check in advance.
Additionally, if you use a taxi, you may incur the following charges:
- extra charge
From 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., the fare is 20% more expensive. Be aware that taxis with a "surcharge" sign will cost more than usual.
- express fee
If you use the expressway, a separate expressway fee will be charged. Please note that it will not be displayed on the meter.
- Pick-up fee
If you call or reserve a taxi by phone or app, you may be charged a "pick-up fee." It will be added to the meter fare when you get off the taxi, so it's safe to remember.
Additionally, if you keep the driver waiting, you may be charged a "waiting fee."
Japanese taxi terminology and phrase collection
Introducing taxi terms and phrases that are useful to know when using Japanese taxis.
Taxi terminology (taxi super sign)
- "Empty car" (kusha): A taxi with no passengers on board.
- "Warimashi" (warimashi): Taxis that charge a premium late at night and early in the morning.
- ``Chinese'' (chinso): A taxi in which a passenger rides.
- "Kaiso": A taxi that cannot operate commercially.
- "Geisha": A taxi that picks up customers
- "Kashikiri": A taxi that is reserved for private use
- "Reserved car" (yoiyakusha): Reserved taxi
Phrases to use when taking a taxi
★When calling a taxi
You:Please call a Taxi.
Please call a cab for me. Taxi o yonde kudasai.
You:Could you come pick me up?
Could you please come pick me up? Mukaeni kite moraemasuka.
Driver：What is your address?
What is your address? Jyusyo wa doko desuka?
Driver：I'm on my way to get you.
I'll come and pick you up now. Imakara omukae ni mairimasu.
★Inside the taxi
Driver：Where would you like to go?
Which way is it? Docira made desuka?
You:○○（address or name of the location）please.
Please reach ○○. ○○made onegai simasu.
I got it. Kashikomarimashita.
You:How long does it take to get to the destination?
How long will it take to get to my destination? Mokutekichi made donokurai kakarimasuka?
You:Turn right (left) here, please.
Turn right (left) here. Koko de migi (hidairi) ni magatte kudasai.
You:Go straight, please.
Please go straight. Massugu itte kudasai.
You:Please stop just before the traffic lights.
Please stop before the traffic light. Shingou no temae de tomete kudasai.
You:Could you please hurry up?
Could you please hurry up? Isoid moraemasuka?
You:Please wait here.
Please wait here. Koko de matteite kudasai.
You:It's next to ○○.
It's next to ○○. ○○no tonari ni arimasu.
It's near ○○. ○○no chikaku ni arimasu.
You:Please stop here.
Please stop here. Koko de tomete kudasai.
You:Can you drop me off around here?
Can you drop me off around here? Kono atari de orosite moraemasuka?
How much is it? Ikura desuka?
It's ○○ yen. ○○Yen desu.
You:Please give me a receipt.
Please give me the receipt. Ryousyuusyo o kudasai.
Driver：Make sure you haven't forgotten anything.
Please make sure you don't forget anything. Owasuremono no naiyouni site kudasai.
Points to note when taking a taxi in Japan
Lastly, I would like to introduce some things to keep in mind when taking a taxi in Japan.
- door opens and closes automatically
In Japanese taxis, the driver opens and closes the door on the left side of the back seat. You don't have to open or close the door yourself.
- No smoking inside the car
All taxis in Japan are non-smoking inside.
You can also eat and drink, but there is a risk of lingering odors and spillage of drinks. It is best to refrain from eating and drinking in the car as much as possible.
- Do not place carry cases or wet umbrellas on the seat
If you bring a carrying case with you, the seats may get dirty on the casters. Try to place it on the floor instead of on the seat.
Also, do not place wet umbrellas on the seat; place them on the floor or hold them vertically with your hands.
- no tip required
You don't have to tip in Japanese taxis, so it's okay to pay exactly the amount you paid. Of course, if you pay more, you will definitely get change.
In this article, we introduced how to call a taxi in Japan and some points to keep in mind.
- You can use an app, call a taxi company, or look for it on the roadside or at a station.
- Some taxis also accept credit cards and electronic money.
- Taxi fares are generally displayed on the meter.
- "Vacant" and "Premium" signs indicate taxis that can be boarded.
- Please remember that the doors are automatic, smoking is prohibited, and no tipping is required.
Unlike trains and buses, taxis allow you to get on and off wherever you want. Please refer to the phrases we have introduced and try using Japanese taxis.