Japanese Decoded: How To Use Taxis

Hey, Taxi! Easy Japanese For Taxis To Travel In Style

By The Savvy Team
August 4, 2020
Lifestyle

Japanese taxis are renowned all over the world for their over-the-top service as well as a perfectly tailored style: from white gloves to automatic doors, taking the Japanese taxi is an experience itself.

Catching a taxi in a city like Tokyo can be intimidating… But fear no more! We gathered some easy Japanese for taxis, keep reading to become a pro, and drive through the city without breaking a sweat.

Man getting in a taxi, japanese stickers on taxis

Getting in

Let’s start with the obvious: when you hop in a taxi you tell the driver where you would like to go. Luckily, this is very easy Japanese to memorize as it is using one of the simplest structures of the language.

Japanese Rōmaji English
__までお願いします。 __made onegai shimasu. Please take me to __.

Simply add the name of the place you want to go at the beginning of this structure.

If you have trouble passing on the message, use a memo to show the taxi driver where you would like to go. As hotels or places with Western names are pronounced slightly differently in Japanese, it could cause useless confusion. Alternatively, if you prepared your address with a map, a business card or wrote it in Japanese, you can point with your finger and say:

Japanese Rōmaji English
ここまでお願いします。 Koko made onegai shimasu. Please take me there.

Getting off

It’s here, you can see it, your destination! In order not to miss it, you can tell the taxi driver:

Japanese Rōmaji English
ここでいいです。 Koko de ii desu. Here is fine.
ここで下ろしてください。 Koko de oroshite kudasai. Please let me off here.

Japanese taxi driver in Asakusa

But don’t forget to pay for your taxis…

Before getting off your taxi, check the meter next to the driver—he or she will tell you as soon as you stop—to confirm your fare. Here are some useful sentences related to payment:

Japanese Rōmaji English
__円になります。 __en ni narimasu. That will be __ yens.
クレジットカードでお願いします。 Kurejitto kaado de onegai shimasu. By credit card, please.
領収書お願いします。 Ryōshuusho onegaishimasu. Can I have a receipt, please?
ありがとうございます。 Arigatō gozaimasu. Thank you very much.

Easy Japanese for Taxis: Savvy Tips

  1. Spot the lightboard! The term 空車 (kuusha, vacant, usually red or orange) means the taxi is available.賃送 (chinsō, occupied, usually green) means the taxi is taken. Some taxis have English translations next to the kanji. Also good to know: 割増 (warimashi) can appear late at night (around 11 p.m.) to signify a 20% increase in regular fares.
  2. Doors are automatic in Japanese taxis, you don’t need to touch it to enter it will open when you get in front of it—especially useful during this pandemic.
  3. The basic fare will range between ¥380 and ¥410 for the first 1.052 km.
  4. You can pay taxis by cash or credit card—although the last is not always an option, it’s better to check before getting in.
  5. Tipping is not common at all in Japan, if you really want to tip your taxi driver try saying お釣りは入りません (otsuri wa irimasen, keep the change) but know they might refuse.
  6. If you don’t speak Japanese or can’t memorize the addresses you need, try keeping them somewhere quickly show to your driver.
  7. To easily book a taxi, you can download the JapanTaxi app which can be used in English.

Once it reached you, use this easy Japanese for taxis guide to ace your trip!