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taxi and tipping

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taxi and tipping

I have a group of 4 people and I am wondering if it'll be cheaper or maybe just a little more in general whether I took the bus or a taxi while traveling in Kyoto. I think it is much more convenient to just jump in a taxi. Are they readily available to just flag down? Do you need to tip a taxi driver? Specifically, on one trip, I want to go to Otagi Nenbutsugi from near the Karasuma Station. What do you think? Taxi or bus??

Tokyo, Japan
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1. Re: taxi and tipping

Taxi: convenient but not necessarily inexpensive or fast. People normally take the train to the nearest station and take a taxi (eg for Kinkakuji, don't take the taxi all the way from JR Kyoto Station, but from Metro Kitaoji Station).

Empty taxi has a electronic sign "空車" in red near the front window. You wave to the driver for him/her to stop.

No tipping is necessary at all, just pay by the built in meter (in arabic numerals), and exact changes will be given (but you should prepare 1,000 yen bank notes instead of 10,000 yen). The driver won't strongly resist a tip, if s/he extended a personal and special help to you with large luggage, or have waited for a while without turning on the meter as s/he is supposed to, but tipping is quite unusual in Japan. No tipping is the general rule.

Otagi Nenbutsuji is in the furthest corner of Kyoto. I would take taxi from Arashiyama instead of going there all the way by taxi, but it's your choice. From Karasuma, you might take the Hankyu via Katsura to Hankyu Arashiyama, or take the metro via Karasuma Oike and Uzumasa Tenjingawa. Going via Kyoto Station by JR is also a good option.

Edited: 12:14 am, October 06, 2013
Tokyo and California
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for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
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2. Re: taxi and tipping

You can flag down a taxi just about anywhere in Kyoto. Karasuma to Otaginenbutsuji will be around 2,500yen if traffic is not heavy. The best thing to do is to take the Hankyu Line train to Arashiyama then a taxi.

As mentioned, there is absolutely no need to tip taxi drivers, however, if you offer them the change, they'd appreciate it.

Nara, Japan
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3. Re: taxi and tipping

A taxi can seat up to 4adults, so in case you're 5 altogether you need to hail 2taxis splitting in 2 and 3...

My recommendation is Yasaka Taxi: http://tinyurl.com/llva9l7

Not that the drivers are fluent in English, but they're a whole lot more tourist/customer-friendly than their cometition as far as I know. Going off on a tangent here, I'd say they have by far lower (staff) turnover, compared to others, so that tells something why they're nicer to customers.

Edited: 12:02 pm, October 06, 2013
4. Re: taxi and tipping

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