Road - Taxi & Bus, Tokyo
There are no street addresses in Japan, so if you are traveling by taxi, you have to describe to the cabbie more or less where you want to go. (Our apartment, for example, might be described as "behind the twin towers of the Aoyama Station".) I listened to the dialogue between my daughter-in-law and our driver and had concluded that there was some uncertainty about our destination, although I could see a sort of GPS map displayed in the front seat. Sure enough, presently Mishu said something that amounted to, "Hey, I think you just drove past the office," and the cabbie, totally unrepentent, pulled over and helped us unload the stroller from the trunk. If you do not speak Japanese, it helps to print a map from the Internet and circle the environment where you want to go so that you can simply hand the visual aid to your driver.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
This tip should be the most important, number 1!!! When taking a taxi never try to open the door, the door opens automatically and after you are in shuts automatically. Please dont make japanese taxi drivers upset trying to manhandle it yourself:))
i didnt because read about that "custom" in multiple travelguides and had the greatest respect from taxi drivers!
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.
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?
Whilst Tokyo has a very good and very extensive train network, there is also a very extensive bus network as well.
As long as you know where you're going, buses can get you between some points more conveniently than the train.
I think that the taxi service in Japan has got to be one of the best in the world.
They are everywhere - just hail them down and often right outside your hotel. I used these alot and they were very cheap....met some really interesting people too - including the taxi driver that was thrilled I had come to his country and he was so happy I had eaten the food (not Mcdonalds) and loved the beer - I real advocate for Tokyo!
They are clean, efficient and drivers well mannered - and they know where EVERYWHERE is...could give a London cabbie a run for their money I am sure!
The difficulty about Tokyo, Besides the vast area, is the absense of proper street names and addresses the way we are used to in Europe and elsewhere. Instead they have the ku and the chome etc info. So getting around can be difficult at times. Take a taxi, is my advice. And note, the taxis have doors which open and close automatically.
Taxis are expensive, yet easy and reliable in Tokyo. The first 2km of the taxi ride will typically run you 710 Yen (almost USD 10), then you will pay about 80 Yen for each additional 274m ( about USD 1 for each 1/6 of a mile). If the taxi sits stationary in traffic, it will cost another 80 Yen for each two minutes. At night, between 11pm and 5am, it will cost you another 30 percent on top of the standard fare.
The lights on top of the taxi will let you know if it is available. Red lights mean occupied, and yellow lights mean off duty or on call. So if you see a taxi with no lights, it should be free. Just wave your hand to flag it down, as you would in most other cities of the world. When you get ready to enter the taxi, note the doors will open automatically. Tipping is not customary or expected in Japan.
Buses : It can an be rather tricky to use the buses at first because of the signs being in Japanese so unless you can familiarize yourself with the numerous routes, you might want to find another way. Shibuya has a major bus station and buses from here will travel in most directions. Timetables are displayed at each stop and buses are usually on time. For trying to see as much as you can in a short time, then I would suggest an organised tour with one of the local Tour Companies.
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.