Taxi Apps for Foreigners in Japan

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Taxi Apps for Foreigners in Japan: How to Ride a Taxi and Fare Calculator

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Taxi Apps for Foreigners in Japan: How to Ride a Taxi and Fare Calculator

Taxi Apps for Foreigners in Japan: How to Ride a Taxi and Fare Calculator

Starting in 2018, the popularity of Japanese Taxi apps began to grow steadily in Japan. In recent years, it has become a favorite among the Japanese population. By simply installing a Japan Taxi app on a smartphone, users can book a taxi to pick them up at their specified location. Currently, in major metropolitan areas such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, these apps are widely used. Most of these apps provide a fare estimate after entering the destination, giving riders an idea of the expected cost and eliminating the concern of being overcharged by taxi drivers. By signing up for free as a member on these apps, users can also save their credit card details, enabling direct payment through the app. Some apps even offer the issuance of receipts, making the whole process extremely convenient.

The interface of Japan taxi apps are typically user-friendly. Some even support multiple languages, catering not only to busy professionals but also to families on trips, individuals with mobility challenges due to health issues, or those caught in sudden rain and in immediate need of a taxi. It's incredibly convenient.

This article introduces handy Japan taxi apps and explains the methods of taking a taxi in Japan, including how to hail one, cost structures, billing methods, license plate colors, and more. Whether you're working in Japan, studying in Japan, on a working holiday, or just touring Japan, this guide can help you choose the best taxi app for your specific travel area.

Contents

How to hail a taxi in Japan

1Using a Japan Taxi App to Hail a Taxi

Using a Japan taxi app to hail a taxi is very convenient. Just input the ride date, time, pickup location, and destination into the app, and you can easily hail a Japanese taxi.

2Riding a Taxi

The doors of Japanese taxis are automatic, so you don't need to open them yourself when riding. Japanese taxis can accommodate up to four passengers: three in the back and one in the front. If you have large luggage, ask the driver if it can be placed in the trunk.
According to Japanese traffic laws, both front and rear passengers must wear seat belts. After riding, remember to fasten your seatbelt to avoid fines.

3Tell the Driver Your Destination

If you've used a Japan Taxi app to book your taxi, you've already specified your destination during the reservation stage via the app, saving you the trouble of telling the driver where you want to go. If you hailed the taxi on the street, you'll need to inform the driver of your destination upon riding. If you're concerned about potential language barriers with your Japanese, it's suggested to show the driver a map or a business card. Alternatively, you can use a translation app for assistance.

4Pay and Exit Upon Reaching Your Destination

Japanese taxis are equipped with fare meters that calculate charges based on distance or time. Most Japanese taxis accept credit cards and electronic payments, but be aware that some taxis in areas outside major cities only accept cash. It's recommended to confirm the payment method before riding. If you've used a Japan taxi app, you can conveniently pay via the app with your credit card. If you didn't use an app and are paying in cash or with a card, place your payment on the tray or table between you and the driver, rather than handing it directly to them. The door will open automatically when you exit, so you don't need to close it yourself.

Recommendable Taxi Apps for Foreigners in Japan

As of January 2024, the App has been downloaded over 18 million times, establishing it as the largest ride-hailing app in Japan. It's available in all 44 prefectures nationwide. To hail a taxi in Japan, simply launch the app to see your current location on the map. Shift the map to your desired pickup location and select "ここで乗る" (Ride Here). The app will list nearby taxis. By tapping "タクシーを呼ぶ" (Call a Taxi), you can finalize the hailing process. "Taxi-Hailing App GO" also shows the estimated arrival time of the taxi and sends a notification upon the taxi's arrival.

After installing the app, input your name and phone number to receive a verification code. Once verified, you're ready to hail a taxi. While the "Taxi-Hailing App GO" generally doesn't charge a usage fee, some taxi companies might charge service fees or pickup fees; it's wise to check beforehand. Beyond allowing fare payment via credit card in the app, users can opt to pay in cash when getting off. The app also features a premium "AI予約" (AI Reservation) service, enabling taxi reservations anywhere from 15 minutes to 7 days ahead. Given its extensive service area, partnerships with numerous taxi firms, and electronic payment convenience, this app is exceptionally user-friendly. If both your pickup and drop-off locations are within the app's service area, it's recommended to download this useful Japanese taxi-hailing app.

Download GO (iOS/Android)

Japan Taxi Fare Calculator

In Japan, taxi fares are calculated based on a minimum charge, followed by additional charges for each subsequent kilometer traveled.The minimum charge, or the starting fare, typically ranges from 500 to 600 yen, varying by region and taxi company. It's advisable to check the starting fare, which is often displayed in the taxi, before hailing one.

Additional charges for Japanese taxis are as follows:

  • Surcharges: These are calculated based on the distance traveled and the duration of the ride.
  • Combined Time and Distance Charges: An additional charge of 80 yen is incurred every 85 seconds when the taxi's speed falls below 10 km/h due to traffic congestion.
  • Nighttime Surcharge: A 20% additional nighttime surcharge is applied to rides in Japanese taxis from 10 PM to 5 AM the following day.
  • Waiting Charge: If a taxi is requested to wait at a designated pickup location for more than 5 minutes, a waiting charge is applied.
  • Pick-up Charge: This is the fee for a taxi to pick up passengers at a specified location. Note that some Japanese taxis may not charge this fee.

Japanese Taxi Body and License Plate Colors

In Japan, taxis do not adhere to a standard color scheme; each region features taxis in various colors, including black, green, yellow, orange, among others. Different taxi companies use distinct colors to set themselves apart. An important aspect to note is the color of the license plates on Japanese taxis. Japanese license plates come in five colors: white, yellow, green, black, and blue. Taxis with green license plates are legally operated and approved by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism of Japan, ensuring passenger entitlement to compensation in the event of a traffic accident. Conversely, a taxi with a white license plate is typically a non-commercial private car. As Japan has not fully legalized taxi services for vehicles with white plates, caution is advised when hailing a taxi in Japan.

Taxi Apps for Foreigners in Japan

taxi

Using a Japanese Taxi apps allow for a quicker way to hail taxis in Japan. Download and install the Taxi app, complete the registration, and then you can easily request a taxi in Japan using the app. Simply input your ride's date, time, and location in the app. Once the reservation is complete, you just need to wait at the pickup location for your taxi. This method is particularly convenient for foreigners who may not be fluent in Japanese, as it reduces the risk of miscommunication with the drivers.

In comparison to the traditional method of hailing a taxi by phone, using a Japanese Taxi app not only eliminates the need to speak Japanese but also saves on phone charges. During busy periods, or in crowded areas such as hotels and stations, hailing a taxi can be difficult. The Taxi app addresses this issue by making it easier to find a taxi, especially on short notice.

Recommendable Taxi Apps for Foreigners in Japan

nearMe.Airport provides a shared taxi service for airport transfers in Japan. You can simply make a reservation online and within 24 hours, you will receive a response confirming the availability of a vehicle. This service provides direct transfers between airports, residences, and hotels in Japan, ensuring convenience. The service is shared ride with a small number of passengers per trip, making it more economical than hiring a private car or a regular taxi. For example, one-way transfers from Haneda Airport start at just 2,980 yen per person, with additional discounts for early bookings. There are also discounts for group reservations of three or more people, with children under 11 years old paying half-price, and infants who do not require a seat traveling for free. This service is recommended for those who want a convenient ride without spending too much on transportation. The maximum number of passengers per ride is six, ensuring it won't be too crowded. The service covers Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Kansai International Airport, Itami Airport, Chubu Centrair International Airport, Fukuoka Airport, Nanki-Shirahama Airport, Aomori Airport, Tokushima Airport, Kitakyushu Airport, and Naha Airport, allowing passengers to easily travel to their accommodations or hotels upon arrival in Japan. If you do not understand Japanese, you can choose an English website, which makes it convenient to book a taxi.

Visit nearMe.Airport

TipsJapanese Phrases used when hailing a taxi in Japan

Japanese English
空車 vacant
賃走 occupied
予約 reservation
ここまでお願いします。 Please take me to here.
ここで降ります。 I'll get off here.
後ろのトランク開けてください。 Please open the trunk.
いくらですか? How much?
おつりいりません。 Keep the change.

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