Road - Taxi & Bus, Tokyo
Cabs are generally plentiful in Tokyo, and available throughout 24 hours.
Flag down fare is usually 660 yen (about USD 6.60), but there are some cab companies who will flag down at 650 yen or even 620 yen.
For short trips around 5 mins, it should not get past the flag down fare. But anything more than that, and the meter jumps quickly. So if you can still get on the train, recommend that you choose that over the cabs.
The cabs are safe and clean, but the drivers generally don't speak English, so rule of thumb is to carry the Japanese address of your destination (esp your hotel), or better still, a map.
General infos about taxi;
It is beginning from 660Yen and a bit expensive to compare to other metropolitans. The driver do not speak any foreign langueage never! and they could be even inpolite since you are foreigner. However in general if you show the map and (not or) the palce name written in japanese, you will not have problem. The door is controlled by driver do not try to open/close it.
When travelling in Tokyo with 3 or four persons it can be a good idea to take a taxi.
subway tickets are around 200 Yen per person. The taxi is 650 Yen for the first two kilometers. So for short distances it can be cheaper and it takes you from door to door....
Please be carefull with the automatic doors. The driver opens and close the door for you. Don´t push or pull yourself!
When we entered the Shinjuku area coming from the japanese alps (Takato) by bus we ended up in a large traffic jam. It took us 45 minutes to get to the busstation from the freeway.
It was a pretty picture though, all the lights of the buildings and the taillights of the cars in front of us.
Here is our designated driver. He has a microphone and I was waiting for him to start singing without notice. Nope. He took us safely to our destination without uttering anything beyond: thanks for using our line and we hope you had a pleasant trip. You are welcome and the trip was not that bad.
If you come early, consult an urology specialist. If you can sit at the front seats you will have more leg space and a nice view of Tokyo' streets, and then of Tokyo's highway. Remember that the trip will last for a while, most of the delays will be caused by traffic in the highway that takes you across Tokyo.
This is the bus that is taking you to Tsukuba. A bus leaves every 15 min from Yaesu-Minami of Tokyo JR station to Tsukuba Bus Center. It takes 65 to 90 min. depending on the traffic. No reservation required.
"Tsukuba bus center" is what it is written on the small window to your right.
Do not get scared by the signs in Japanese, do not get scared by the Japanese signs. There are two routes for the buses connecting Tokyo and Tsukuba. One lines goes to the Tsukuba bus center; the other one does not. You are going to the Tsukuba Bus Center.
Most taxi drivers don’t speak English so it is recommended that you have the address of your destination written in Japanese or have a map. Taxi’s are pretty expensive in Japan, the average flag fall starts at $6 for the first 1.25 miles, especially between 11.00pm and 5.00am when the meter adds extra surcharges. Extra charges are incurred calling for a taxi. In the street, look for a taxi which has a red light in the front window. This indicates the taxi is empty – a green light means the taxi has passengers (I would have thought that the reverse however…). No tip is necessary. The backdoor opens and closes automatically so wait until the driver operates it.
Taxis are very expensive in Tokyo. However if you decide to use one do it outside rush hours.
There is NO NEED to touch taxi doors at all when getting in or out. They are opened and closed by the driver. After hailing a taxi just wait for the door to open - isn't that COOL?
Taxis are plentiful in Tokyo but pricey. A 2km ride starts at around Y660. Sometimes you'll find half-price taxi's which will start the meter at Y330 for a 1km ride. They're great for short rides but they're hard to find. In general a taxi ride may be worthwhile if you've got 3-4 companions and a well-defined destination a short distance away. Remember, get in/out on the left side and don't open or close the rear door. The driver will do it for you from inside the car.
Buses are extensive in Tokyo but maybe a little difficult to master as you have to be very cognizant of the routes and stops. And it can be confusing because payment methods may vary although in the city proper it's usually a fixed pay-when-you-board fare. For most tourists, trains and the occasional taxi ride will suffice.
Of course, there are tour buses with guides that give various English guided tours for tourists. These may be useful for those who have a limited time or have limited mobility. Check any tourist information center or large hotel for pamphlets.
If you do decide to brave a day in Tokyo go there by train. Cabs are very expensive and traffic is often congested. Save your money for meals, souvenirs, and more enjoyable things.
Have a map and phrase book. Most restaurants and sites of interest give out matchbooks &/or brochures that have detailed travel instructions and little maps on them. Make a habit of collecting these, and if staying in a hotel, get one from there, too! If you get lost, you can always give the matchbook to a policeman or driver (if you do have to take a cab), and just say 'Michi ni mayorimasu. Watashi no hoteru wa doko desu ka.' (I'm lost. Where is my hotel?)
Let's talk about CABS now.
Cabs cost a bomb here in Tokyo. EXPENSIVE. VERY EXPENSIVE. The meter fare starts from US$6 for the first (less than) 1KM journey! And you pay even more between the hours of 11PM and 5AM.
Oh, and most Japanese drivers (no, make it almost ALL) DON'T speak English, so I would highly recommended that you have the address of your destination written in Japanese or better still, bring a map along with you and point it to your cab driver.
Don't even ask me how much it costs to take a cab from Narita International Airport to Central Tokyo. O.K., for the absolutely curious amongst us - be prepared to fork out US$200 and above for your trip. Have fun!!
It's interesting how taxis drive on the left side and at night at the traffic signal turn off their headlights and turn them on again when the light turns green. Went through a tunnel that was built under a cemetary. Land is precious.