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Taxis

Taxies in Japan are very different from taxis in western countries. The taxis here are very clean, there is no tipping, they are very punctual, and always polite. The doors open automatically, which you may forget the first few times you take a taxi.

Taxis in Japan are also slightly more expensive, at least initially. Whereas in (the author is from Toronto) other cities, taxis can start as low as $3 dollars, the taxis here start at 600 yen, and sometimes 700 yen or more late at night. The increments are 40-80 yen. A 10-minute journey will cost you approximately about 1,000 to 1,400 yen depending on the distance travelled.

You might need a map rather than just an address, because the address system in Japan is difficult to navigate even for the most experienced taxi drivers. Knowing landmarks near your destination is a big plus, and if you live near your school or next to a supermarket it`s best to tell the driver to go there, and then give more detailed directions as you get closer. When you get out, put the money in the tray between the two front seats.

Please remember that only 4 passengers are permitted, and this is strictly enforced. Some taxis back home may have allowed you 5 passengers for a short distance, but this is a no-go here…. apparently many people have tried without success.

If there is a RED LIGHT on the left front window, it means the taxi is available. If it`s GREEN, then there is an EVENING SURCHARGE. A YELLOW LIGHT means that the taxi is on a call, and some taxis may add 20% to the total fee if you flag down a taxi with a yellow light on.

Flag a taxi by holding out your arm,  hand flat, and palm facing down, making a `slow down / wave` motion. This is the same hand movement used to signal a bus to stop (buses often will not stop unless you signal the driver that you want him to stop)

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