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Taking a Taxi in Japan
Although Taxi-order apps have been quite popularized throughout Japan, the fastest way to get around in Tokyo is still by ordering a taxi on the curb. Sometimes it can be even a lot cheaper to order a taxi on-site. Taxis are readily available in every corner of the city. They are also the world’s cleanest taxis with the politest drivers. The car door opens automatically for you, and the driver usually wears a suit and white gloves. As convenient as taxis can get in Tokyo, the inconvenience is that usually, the drivers do not speak a word in English so it would be extremely helpful to know a few phrases before you get on the cab.
When ordering a taxi, simply wave your hand to the car.
You can only order a taxi to come over when you see
“空車 (kūsha)” which means “Vacant car”
When you enter the taxi, you let the driver know the destination by saying:
(Placename) + まで お願い します。(made onegai shimasu) (…までおねがいします).
This literally means: To XX, please.
So for example, if you would like to go to Shinjuku, simply say “Shinjuku made Onegai shimasu”, and the driver will understand.
When you have arrived at the place you would like to go to, you can say:
ここで おろして ください。(koko de oroshite kudasai)
Koko-de means “here”, oroshite means “to drop off”, and kudasai means “please”.
Alternatively, you could also say:
“ここでいいです (Kokode ii desu)” which means “Here is ok”.
If you would also like to ask for the receipt, you could say:
“領収書お願いします(Ryōshuusho onegaishimasu)” which simply means “Receipt please”
For more information on transport and transit prices in Japan, check out our guide here.