Taxis are very easy to find in Asakusa. You can find taxis waiting for passengers on the west side of Tobu Asakusa Station. Outside other stations you can easily hail a taxi on the street. The standard fare for a small-sized taxi is 410 yen for the first 1,052 meters, and then 80 yen for every 237 meters after that. If you have two or more passengers to share the cost of the fare then this is not so expensive.
Asakusa Taxi Types & Fares
Japanese taxis usually come in three standard sizes: small (kogata 小型), medium (chugata 中型) and large (ogata 大型). Taxi fares will increase with the size of the taxi. A small kogata taxi is the most common size and it is big enough to seat four people. A medium chugata taxi also seats four people, but it is more spacious. If you have more than four people in your group, then you will need to take either a larger ogata taxi or two smaller ones. Please note that different taxi companies can charge different rates and that most taxi companies in Asakusa charge a 20% evening surcharge between 22.00 and 5.00 am the next morning.
How to Get a Taxi
If you take a taxi from the taxi rank at Tobu Asakusa Station you will simply take a taxi as it becomes available so you cannot choose your taxi company. However, most taxi companies in Japan are very reliable, so this is not a problem. At other locations you can simply raise your hand to get a taxi driver’s attention. A green light in the passenger’s side window means that the taxi already has a passenger. A red light means that the taxi is available. At night, a light on the taxi roof also shows that the taxi is vacant.
Japanese Taxi Etiquette
- Japanese taxi drivers usually cannot speak English. Before you take a taxi prepare a map to your destination, or have the address written down in Japanese with the telephone number. With the address the driver can use the taxi’s GPS system to find the location, or he can use the telephone number to call the location for directions.
- The rear doors of Japanese taxi cabs open and close automatically. It is better not to open and close these automatic doors yourself.
- All Japanese taxis have meters, and taxi drivers are usually honest. You do not need to worry about being cheated.
- Tipping is not necessary in Japan. In fact if you do you try to tip, your driver may be confused or embarrassed. It is generally better to simply pay the fare shown on the meter.
- These days many taxis accept credit cards, but some still don’t. It’s a good idea to carry some cash just in case. If you would like to pay with a credit card, show your card to the driver before your journey begins and check that your card is acceptable.
Asakusa Taxi Companies
Here are some of the main taxi companies you will see in Asakusa which all have a good reputation for their service.
Nihon Kotsu Taxi
Nihon Kotsu have English speaking telephone operators and some of their drivers are multilingual too. As well as regular taxis you can also hire sightseeing taxis with Nihon Kotsu. These have drivers who can speak English, Chinese, Korean, French or German. For full details of tours and fares check the official website. Nihon Kotsu accepts the following major international credit cards: Visa, Master Card, American Express, JCB, and Diners Club.
English Website: http://www.nihon-kotsu.co.jp/en/
Daiwa Motor Transportation
Daiwa place great importance on keeping their cars in good condition and their staff are expected to be very polite. Daiwa accepts the following major international credit cards: JCB, Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Diners Club. It is also possible to pay with the major prepaid IC cards such as SUICA and PASMO.
Japanese Website: https://www.daiwaj.com/service/taxi/
As well as regular taxis you can hire sightseeing taxis from Tokyo Musen but they do not have any special foreign language services. Tokyo Musen accept the following major international credit cards: JCB, Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Diners Club. It is also possible to pay with the major prepaid IC cards such as SUICA and PASMO.
Japanese website: http://www.tokyomusen.or.jp/
Checker Cab’s bright orange taxis are easy to recognize. Checker Cab accepts the following major international credit cards: JCB, Visa, Master Card, American Express, Diners Club, and UnionPay.
English website: http://www.checker-cab.co.jp/english/
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.