If you find yourself looking for a taxi in one of Japan's major cities, the chances are you won't have to wait long. The city streets are swarming with taxi cabs ready to open their doors-their automatic doors at that-and transport you to your destination. In local areas, the number of cabs decrease, but can usually be found in front of or nearby the local station.
The inside of the cabs are spotlessly clean and the service (generally) impeccable. Drivers won't take advantage of their clients and fares are calculated by the running meter. Taxis show various neon signs in their windscreens-usually in Chinese characters but English signs are growing-to show whether the taxi is free, taken, on a pick-up or going home. Like most countries around the world, taking a taxi is a more expensive option than public transport, but if you are traveling in a group of three or four, it can sometimes be an economical way to travel. While credit cards can generally be used in major city taxis, if you take a cab out in the countryside, cash might be your only option.
In the Tokyo area, a number of taxi companies offer sightseeing tours by taxi that can tailor a Tokyo tour for you and your group.
For many travelers, getting to or leaving from the airport is the time to take a taxi and Japan's major airports have this covered with fixed-fare prices and shared services.
If you choose to jump in a taxi for your trip into central Tokyo from Narita Airport, request a fixed fare to your destination. Tokyo's different zones are labeled and given a fixed price. All you have to do is ask your driver for the fixed rate when you get in the cab.
Haneda Airport offers a very similar service to Narita Airport with flat rate taxi fares available for visitors traveling to most areas of Tokyo.
If you find yourself in the Kansai area and are heading to the major airports of Kansai International or Itami, a shared taxi shuttle service may well be a cheap and convenient option for your trip to the airport.