21 Jun



In Japan the taxis are spotless. You could eat off the floor, but don’t. Don’t eat inside them.


When the taxi pulls up, the door will open and close ‘automatically’ for you. In reality, it is the driver opening it with a lever. He will be checking to be sure it is safe for you to enter or exit.


They often have white lace seat covers and the driver wears white gloves.


In Japan, they don’t tip, so you just pay the metered amount.


The seat behind the driver is considered for the person of highest honor.


The seat in front next to the driver is for the person of lowest honor.


To tell the driver where you want to go you can say your destination name  + onegai-shimasu.

(Oh nay guy a – she mas ou)

Phonetics are created by me. XD


Have you had any interesting experiences with taxis?


© 2010 J.B. Vadeboncoeur


Posted by on June 21, 2010 in Japan


Tags: , , , ,

18 responses to “TRAVEL TO JAPAN – Taxis

  1. jackie b central texas

    June 21, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Although will never travel to Japan, China, Korea or probably anywhere else over seas it is still interesting to learn little bits and pieces of the culture and customs like this from other people and places. Thanks for sharing, it was a neat tidbit!!

    jackie b

  2. Holly

    June 21, 2010 at 10:21 am

    I love the white lace seatcover and the slippers! Thanks for this post. I have had taxi drivers with a cooler full of drinks (that he was selling), and once I had a taxi driver that was selling CDs. He had a huge box that he just plunked down next to me in the back seat to look through.

    Oh, and then there’s this taxi driver that I had TWICE here in Buenos Aires, who puts on background music and SINGS. That’s a unique one.

    • purplume

      June 22, 2010 at 7:38 am

      Interesting Holly. Your reply gave me the idea to edit my post to include asking people about their taxi experiences.
      Those drivers are resourceful, using the captive audience to sell. I like the singing one. I bet he gets better tips. XD

  3. Bec

    June 21, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    The ones I’ve ridden in always feel like they have no brakes whatsoever.

  4. Petty Witter

    June 22, 2010 at 1:53 am

    I use a really good taxi company, the drivers are fun and very helpful but a taxi ride in Japan is obviously a whole different ball game. What an experience to have – I’d feel so special. So much easier that you don’t tip either, I know there are certain ‘rules’ as to what and who we tip but I can never remember them. Many thanks for this post, I love learning about other peoples/cultures.

  5. Joey @ Big Teeth & Clouds

    June 22, 2010 at 2:29 am

    I’ve never been in a taxi. This week I’ll have my first experience with a car service. I went all hoity with a town car. I sort of hope after reading this that the driver wears white gloves!

  6. ~ifer

    June 22, 2010 at 2:32 am

    I dont remember ever riding in a taxi when I lived in Japan, so this is an interesting article to me. It fits everything I know about the culture, and I can just picture the drivers with the white gloves..
    Your posts make me miss Japan…

    Oh! and good work on the phonetics… I took japanese for 2 years in college, and you sounded it out perfectly!

    • purplume

      June 22, 2010 at 8:13 am

      Oh thanks Jennifer. I am grateful for your praise. I’m not very auditory and I forget how the words sound. If I write them in my phonetics I can make a stab at it at least.

  7. Holly Jahangiri

    June 22, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Interesting, yes – but none so pleasant! We were driven to the airport in Houston, once, by a limo driver who fell asleep at the wheel at least three times. I perfected the art of sneezing on command, in order to wake him each time his eyelids drooped. No doubt he came down with a case of the imaginary flu the next day.

    In Istanbul and in Paris, cab drivers drive like madmen. They have to, to keep up with all the other madmen on the road. They’re mostly alert, though, and good at their jobs. In Istanbul, there were no seatbelts in our cab. I just prayed a lot. Must’ve worked; I’m still here to tell the tale.

    • purplume

      June 26, 2010 at 9:01 am

      How scary to have your driver falling asleep. Good move sneezing. Yikes.
      Good move praying too. You are good to have along in a taxi, or at least your ideas. Thanks.

  8. Jb

    June 23, 2010 at 2:48 am

    I would be so nervous in a taxi like that! God, what if you smudged the floor with dirt from your shoe, or something? I’d be worried about getting in trouble! Might get de-moted right out of the taxi!

    • purplume

      June 26, 2010 at 9:03 am

      They are big on service. The customer is not only right but is an elevated being. They probably wouldn’t hassle you at all.

      • Holly Jahangiri

        June 26, 2010 at 11:55 am

        Well, that just does it – next time my son suggests we move to Japan, I may have to give it serious thought.

        I wonder how many of us could treat our customers like “elevated beings” and not choke on it? But wouldn’t it be a lovely thing if everyone did?

  9. chefyourself

    July 2, 2010 at 2:43 am

    I really enjoy your Japanscapades, it makes me feel like a voyeur–in the good way. What does onegai-shimasu mean?

    • purplume

      July 2, 2010 at 5:28 pm

      onegai-shimasu means literally thank you in advance. To the taxi driver with the destination name, it means thank you in advance for taking me there.

      You can say taxi-onegai-shimasu to a concierge and they will call a taxi for you.
      Or you can indicate your empty cup in a restaurant and say onegai-shimasu and they will refill it.
      Do you ever cook Japanese food?

      • chefyourself

        July 3, 2010 at 4:57 am

        aaaaah. My learning moment. Thanks! I have not made anything Japanese. Ever. To be honest, the only thing I think of when I think of that cuisine is sushi, edamame and tempura. And I know there are loads more, but I’ve not educated myself in it. Any suggestions to get me started?

      • purplume

        July 6, 2010 at 9:35 am

        They are big on presentation. They like to use seasonal foods cooked fresh and simply.
        My neighbor tells me the reason why I don’t find Japanese food that tastes the same over here is because we don’t have the same ingredients.
        You did have a recipe for tempura didn’t you? It made me want to make it with all kinds of vegetables.
        I did eat in a small town where the locals cooked for us. They served everything family style from big bowls. I remember something similar to goulash but different.
        When I go this time I will; be there in October when they have a special mushroom soup that is seasonal.
        I still have the menu from a country inn. It is handwritten in English:
        Appetizer: Kikurage mushroom, fish roe, dried bonito, garland chrysanthemum, peanut sprout and sesame.
        Soup: The one I mentioned – clear soup served in a teapot, Inatsutake mushroom, (sp.?)
        Sashimi: Grouper, flounder, amberjack.
        OR: Eggplant deep fried with poppy seed and miso.
        Grilled: Japanese mackerel, chestnut, ginger.
        Boiled: Sea hream, beans
        Vegetable: assorted
        Fried: prawns, egg yolk, peppers
        Rice and pickles.
        Fruit: melon

  10. chefyourself

    July 11, 2010 at 7:30 am

    that all sounds delicious, save the fish roe. I like it mixed into things, but not straight on.


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