Taxis in Japan are quite expensive compared to traditional means of transport such as trains, buses or metro, as is the case in almost all European capitals. When I was in Japan, I was ‘forced’ to take a taxi to the hotel. It was 1 a.m. and the hotel was 3.3 km away. For these 3.3 km I spent 1360 yen.

Taxis in Tokyo have a basic fare of 500 Yen for the first 1.096 km, then every 255 metres the fare increases by 100 Yen. If the taxi is travelling at a speed of less than 10 km/h, the fare is 100 Yen every 1 minute and 35 seconds. From 10pm to 5am, the fare is increased by 20%.

The prices in Kyoto of the MK company (the logo is a heart with the initials MK inside) are as follows: the basic fare for the first 2 km is 600 Yen, then every 415 metres the fare is 80 Yen. The night between 11pm and 5am the fare increases by 20%. Fun fact: with this company you get a 10% discount if you go up wearing a kimono.

Other companies in Kyoto have an average basic fare of 590 Yen for the first 1.7 km, then 80 Yen every 324 metres.

Finding a taxi is very easy, there are almost everywhere.
Since there are no streets in Japan (actually there are, but only the main ones), you’d better have a map on which you can point out where you want to go.
Luckily when we took the taxi, the driver knew where our hotel was and took us straight to our destination.
I recommend that you only take a taxi in an emergency or if there are a lot of you, so that you can amortise the cost of the ride.

Kure, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Interior of a taxi

Photo by Massimo Chianella


If you take a taxi, do not open the back door, in fact the taxi driver will do it with a lever. If you open it manually, you might break the automatic opening mechanism.