Taxis are easy to find in Yokohama but they are not as cheap as in other Japanese cities. The standard fare for a small-sized taxi in Yokohama is 730 yen for the first 2,000 meters and then 90 yen for every 293 meters after that. If you have two or more passengers to share the bill however, the final bill won’t be so expensive.
Please note that different taxi companies may charge different rates and that most taxi companies in Yokohama charge a 20% evening surcharge between 22.00 and 5.00 am the next morning.
Taxi Types & Fares
Japanese taxis usually come in three standard sizes: small (kogata 小型), medium (chugata 中型) and large (ogata 大型). Taxi fares increase according to these sizes. The most common size is the small kogata type which comfortably seats four people. A medium chugata taxi also seats four people, but is more spacious. If you have over four people in your group, then you will need to take either a large taxi or two smaller ones.
Japanese Taxi Etiquette
- Japanese taxi drivers usually can’t speak English. To avoid any difficulties prepare a map for your destination, or have the address written down in Japanese along with the telephone number. With the address the driver can use the taxi’s GPS system to locate your destination. With the telephone number the driver can call for directions.
- The rear doors of Japanese taxi cabs open and close automatically. It is better not to open and close these automatic doors yourself.
- All Japanese taxis have meters, and taxi drivers are generally very honest. You do not need to worry about being cheated.
- Tipping is very unusual in Japan. If you try to tip, your driver may be confused or embarrassed. It is generally better to simply pay the fare shown on the meter.
- These days most taxis accept credit cards, but sometimes card readers cannot verify a card because of poor reception. It’s a good idea to carry some cash just in case. If you would like to pay with a credit card, show your card to the driver before your journey begins and check that your card is acceptable.
Where & How to Catch a Taxi
The main taxi rank at Yokohama Station is outside the West Exit.
At Shin-Yokohama Station the main taxi rank can be accessed from the 1st floor of the station building on its north side.
There is also a smaller taxi rank outside Shin-Yokohama Station’s Shinohara Exit.
At taxi ranks the taxis line up for passengers and you simply take the first one that becomes available. This means you cannot choose a specific taxi company at a taxi rank. However, this is not a problem as Japanese taxi drivers are usually very reliable regardless of their company.
At other locations it is very easy to hail a taxi on the street. Just raise your hand when you see a vacant taxi. When there is a green light in the passenger’s side window, the taxi already has a passenger. When there is a red light, the taxi is vacant. At night, a light on the taxi roof also shows that the taxi is available.
Yokohama Taxi Companies
Below are listed some well-known and reliable taxi companies that you are likely to see in Yokohama.
Radio Taxi is an association of taxi companies that use a GPS system for a more effective and speedy customer service. When you call for a Radio Taxi the operator will use this GPS system to locate the nearest taxi to your location. There are several companies within the Radio Taxi association such as Daiei Kotsu , Asahi Taxi, and Sun Taxi. However, their taxis all have the same blue and white coloring. Among these companies Daiei Kotsu have some English speaking drivers and Sun Taxi have some English, French, and Chinese speaking drivers.
Sun Taxi also has an English language website and offers sightseeing tours as well as discounted taxi fares to and from Haneda and Narita airports. Radio Taxi companies accept the following international credit cards: VISA, Mastercard, JCB, American Express, and Diners Club.
Radio Taxi Telephone Number: 045-226-3161
Radio Taxi Japanese Website: http://www.radio-taxi.org/
Sun Taxi Telephone Number: 045 622 9923
Sun Taxi English Website: http://www.suntaxi.com/english/english_index.htm
Daiichi Koutsu have a telephone interpretation service for foreign passengers. Simply tell the driver your language and an interpreter who speaks your language will be contacted by phone. The following languages are provided for by this service: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indonesian. Daiichi Koutsu accepts the following international credit cards: JCB, Mastercard, VISA, American Express, and Diners Club.
Telephone Number: 092-687-8008
Japanese Website: http://www.daiichi-koutsu.co.jp/taxi/
Taxi Jun is a luxury limousine taxi service. Although their taxis are more spacious and comfortable than those of other companies, they are only a little bit more expensive; charging 740 yen for the first 2000 meters and then 90 yen for every 274 meters after that. You probably won’t see these taxis at station taxi ranks, but you can often find them waiting outside hotels. You can also hire them for sightseeing or business purposes or for airport pickups. Taxi Jun also have web pages in English and Chinese. This company accepts the following credit cards VISA, American Express, Diners Club and JCB.
Heiwa Koutsu don’t have any special foreign language services but they have a lot of taxis, so you are very likely to see them outside Yokohama’s stations. They offer a reliable service but they do not accept credit cards for payment.
Telephone Number: 045-663-8181
Japanese Website: http://www.heiwa-koutsu.co.jp/
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.