Nagoya is a big city, but it has a good public transportation system. You can get to most places using either the subway or city buses. However, if you are in a hurry or tired, or if you are simply carrying too much baggage, a taxi can be a better option. Also if you have two or more passengers to share the fare then taking a taxi is not so expensive. In Nagoya the basic fare for a small-sized taxi is 480 yen for the first 1,264 meters and thereafter 80 yen for every 276 meters.
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Nagoya Taxi Types & Fares
Japanese taxis generally come in three basic sizes: small (kogata 小型), medium (chugata 中型) and large (ogata 大型). Taxi fares go up according to the taxi size. A small kogata taxi is the standard size and it is big enough to seat four people. A medium chugata taxi also seats four people, but has more leg-room. If you have more than four people in your group you will need either a large ogata taxi or two smaller ones. You should also be aware that different taxi companies can charge different rates and that most taxi companies in Nagoya charge a 20% surcharge between 22.00 and 5.00 am the next morning.
Where & How to Get a Taxi
There are taxi ranks on both the east and west sides of Nagoya Station right outside the station exits. You will find a lot of taxis lined up at the taxi ranks and customers board them in turn as they become available. Because of this you cannot choose a taxi company when boarding at a taxi rank. However, this is usually not a problem as most Japanese taxi drivers are very reliable.
At other locations around the city it should be easy to hail a taxi on the street. If you see a green light in the passenger’s side window, then the taxi already has a passenger. When there is a red light, then the taxi is available. At night, a light on the taxi roof also shows that the taxi is vacant. When you see a vacant taxi, just raise your hand and the taxi should stop for you.
Taxi Etiquette in Japan
- Most Japanese taxi drivers cannot speak English. It’s a good idea to have a map to your destination, or have the address written down in Japanese.
- The rear doors of Japanese taxi cabs open and close automatically. You should not open and close them yourself.
- All Japanese taxis have meters, and taxi drivers are generally honest. You don’t need to worry about being cheated.
- Japan does not have the custom of tipping. If you try to tip, then your driver may be confused or embarrassed. For this reason it is better to simply pay the fare shown on the meter.
- Many taxis will accept credit cards but some will not, so you should carry some cash just in case. If you would like to pay with a credit card, you should show your card to the driver before your journey begins and check that your card is acceptable.
Nagoya Taxi Companies
Here is a short list of some of the main taxi companies in Nagoya which have a good reputation for their service.
Tsubame Taxi have some English speaking drivers available if you wish to hire a car for sightseeing purposes. Tsubame Taxi accepts the following international credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Diners Club International, and Nicos.
Japanese Website: http://www.tsubame-taxi.or.jp/index.html
Takara Taxi has some English speaking chauffeurs available if you want to hire a car for sightseeing or business purposes. As a special service in all taxis passengers can recharge their cell phones or smart phones while riding the taxi for free. This company accepts the following international credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Diners Club International, and Nicos. You can also use the following prepaid IC cards to pay for your fare: MANACA, TOICA, SUICA, ICOCA, PASMO, NIMOCA, SUGOCA, and KITACA.
Japanese Website: http://takara-t.com/index.html
Based in Kyoto, MK Taxi have now expanded their business across Japan. This company has a great reputation for their polite and professional service. The Nagoya branch also has some drivers who can speak English, Chinese, Korean, Mongolian and Tagalog! This company accepts the following international credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club International, and JCB.
Japanese Website: http://www.mk-group.co.jp/nagoya/
Nagoya Kintetsu Taxi
Kintetsu is another big taxi company with branches around the country that has a reputation for polite and reliable service. Nagoya Kintetsu accepts the following international credit cards: VISA, Mastercard, JCB, American Express, and Diners Club International.
Japanese Website: http://www.kintetsu-taxi.co.jp/
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.