Taxis in Japan, Are they even Better Now?
Reduction of Vehicles a Good Thing
Okay, I admit it. I ride a taxi in Japan at least twice a day.
I've been here 27 years and never felt the need to get one of those things you keep at your house in a garage that has four wheels and moves :)
The Japanese public transportation combined with the convenience and extreme accessibility of taxis in Tokyo, makes having a car a overly expensive and time-consuming luxury. I just bum a ride from people when I can :)
But...believe it or not...ever since April 1 when consumption tax rose and every taxi company in Japan was required to reduce vehicle numbers by 20 percent...the taxi experience has become even better.
I used to meet a kind, helpful, cheerful, knowledgeable taxi driver about 80 percent of the time. Now, it is definitely at 98 percent. The drivers themselves seem very happy with the change as they look forward to and appreciate a better balanced supply/demand situation.
More and more drivers can get understand you when you have an address and speak your language slowly and with lots of gestures, and each and every one of them will do their best to get you where you want to go as soon as possible (very very very rare that you would ever get cheated by a taxi driver in Japan).
So if you are tired of busy streets or trains and want to take a cool ride with a pretty friendly person, the taxi in Japan is the way to go. Just remember to get your receipt from the driver because lost items will always come back, you just need the company name and vehicle number to make the search process easier. Just say Reshiiiito kudasai (Receipt Please)
Have fun and enjoy the clean, friendly and efficient Japanese taxi :)
Former Deep Japan Writer