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Is there Uber in Tokyo? Yes, Uber does operate in Tokyo; HOWEVER, unlike in many other cities, Uber is often MORE expensive and LESS convenient than taking a local taxi.

Tokyo, the bustling capital of Japan, is renowned for its vibrant culture, cutting-edge technology, and dense population. Navigating this metropolis requires some planning, especially when it comes to choosing the most efficient and comfortable mode of transportation. While Tokyo’s public transportation system is one of the most efficient in the world, ride-sharing services like Uber offer a complementary option for travelers seeking convenience, especially for visitors unfamiliar with the local language and transit routes.

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of Uber services in Tokyo, alongside other transportation options to ensure a smooth journey through the city.

Is There Uber in Tokyo?

cartoon of man ordering a taxi, a large phone shows the different options for different taxis
Image by storyset on Freepik

Uber is indeed present in Tokyo, but it’s important to note that it primarily offers premium and luxury services, such as Uber Black. This is in contrast to many other cities where Uber might offer a range of options, from budget-friendly rides to more upscale choices. The presence of Uber in Tokyo offers a convenient option for those looking for comfortable, hassle-free travel experiences, particularly appealing to business travelers or visitors seeking a bit of luxury in their transit options.

Are Ubers Cheap in Tokyo?

Given that Uber in Tokyo focuses on premium services, it tends to be more expensive than other forms of public transportation like trains and buses, and can also be pricier than standard taxi services. However, for those prioritizing comfort, ease of use, and luxury, Uber can be a preferable choice.

How Much Does Uber Cost in Tokyo?

Uber’s pricing in Tokyo is based on a combination of factors, including a base fare, a per-minute rate when the ride is under way, and a per-kilometer rate for the distance covered. While specific costs can vary, expect to pay significantly more than for a standard taxi or public transit fare due to the premium nature of the service.

For example, a ride from Tokyo Station to Shibuya might cost around ¥5,000 to ¥7,000 ($34 – $47 USD) with Uber Black, depending on traffic conditions. In comparison, the same journey might cost about ¥2,000 to ¥3,000 in a regular taxi and considerably less by train.

How Do You Pay for Uber in Tokyo?

Payment for Uber in Tokyo is conveniently handled through the Uber app, with charges directly billed to the credit card associated with your Uber account. This cashless transaction is particularly appealing to international travelers looking to avoid the complexities of currency exchange or language barriers when paying for rides.

Common Uber Issues in Tokyo?

While Uber provides a reliable service in Tokyo, users may encounter issues such as higher prices during peak times due to surge pricing, and limited availability in certain areas outside central Tokyo. Additionally, given the premium nature of Uber’s offerings in the city, those looking for a budget-friendly ride might find the service less appealing.

Do I Need to Tip Uber Drivers in Tokyo?

Tipping is not a common practice in Japan, and this extends to Uber rides as well. Drivers do not expect tips, and the service charge is included in the fare calculated by the app. This no-tipping culture simplifies transactions and is consistent with local customs.

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Are There Other Ride-sharing Apps in Tokyo?

Set quick and efficient pickup service abstract concept vector illustration.
Image from FreePik

In addition to Uber, Tokyo offers other ride-sharing app alternatives, the major one being DiDi.

DiDi

DiDi is the main competitor and alternative to Uber. Didi provides rideshare services in Tokyo and offers a similar experience with competitive pricing. It’s a good alternative for those looking for a more budget-friendly option compared to Uber’s premium services. DiDi offers various service levels, including economy rides and more premium options. DiDi App.

While Uber remains a popular choice for premium services, DiDi offer competitive prices and different levels of comfort to meet diverse needs.

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Taxis in Tokyo

Taxis in Tokyo are a reliable and ubiquitous part of the city’s transportation network, offering a convenient option for travelers and locals alike. Here’s what you need to know about using taxis in Tokyo.

Are Taxis Cheap in Tokyo?

While taxis in Tokyo are known for their high quality of service, they are not the cheapest mode of transportation, especially when compared to public transit options. However, for short distances or when traveling in a group, they can be a reasonable choice.

How Much Do Taxis Cost in Tokyo?

The cost of taking a taxi in Tokyo starts with a base fare of approximately ¥410 to ¥730 for the first 1 to 2 kilometers, depending on the company. After the initial distance, the fare increases incrementally by distance and time. For example, a 5-kilometer ride within central Tokyo can cost around ¥1,500 to ¥2,000.

Do Taxis Accept Credit Cards in Tokyo?

Most taxis in Tokyo now accept credit cards, thanks to the push for more cashless payment options. However, it’s always a good idea to confirm with the driver before starting your journey if you plan to pay by card.

How Do I Catch a Taxi in Tokyo?

Catching a taxi in Tokyo is straightforward. You can hail a taxi on the street, find one at a taxi stand, or use a taxi-hailing app. Look for the red light in the front window indicating the taxi is available.

Are There Taxi Apps in Tokyo?

Yes, there are several taxi apps available in Tokyo. These apps are handy for non-Japanese speakers, as they offer an English interface and the ability to specify your destination without language barriers. Be aware that some local taxi apps will only work with a Japanese phone number, so you will need a local SIM card to access them.

Popular Taxi Apps include:

  • JapanTaxi: As one of the most popular taxi-hailing apps in Japan, JapanTaxi makes it easy to book standard taxis across many parts of Tokyo and other cities. It’s a convenient way to hail a cab without needing to speak Japanese or understand the local addressing system. JapanTaxi App
  • GO: Previously known as LINE Taxi, this service is integrated with the LINE messaging app, widely used in Japan. GO offers a straightforward way to book taxis, with the added convenience for those who already use LINE for communication. GO App
  • DiDi and Uber can also be used to book licensed and metered taxis through the app.

Are Taxis Safe in Tokyo?

Taxis in Tokyo are extremely safe, with professional and courteous drivers. The vehicles are well-maintained, and drivers adhere strictly to traffic laws. It is uncommon to encounter issues with safety or overcharging.

Common Taxi Scams in Tokyo?

Taxi scams are very rare in Tokyo. The metered system and strict regulations ensure transparent and fair charging for rides. However, as with any major city, it’s wise to be aware of your surroundings and ensure the meter is running during your trip.

Do I Need to Tip Taxi Drivers in Tokyo?

Tipping is not customary in Japan, and this applies to taxis as well. The fare calculated by the meter is the only amount you are expected to pay, and drivers do not expect tips.

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Other Ways to Get Around Tokyo

Tokyo boasts an extensive and efficient public transportation system, which includes trains, subways, buses, and even bicycles for rent. Here’s a brief overview of these alternatives.

Trains and Subways

The backbone of Tokyo’s public transportation is its comprehensive network of trains and subways, operated by various companies including JR East for trains and Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway for subways. This network covers virtually every part of the city and beyond, making it the most efficient way to get around.

  • How to Use: Purchase tickets or a rechargeable IC card (like a Suica or Pasmo) at machines in stations. Fares vary by distance, starting from around ¥170.
  • Costs: Fares are distance-based. A typical journey within central Tokyo might cost between ¥170 to ¥320.
  • More Information: Tokyo Metro | JR East | Toei Subway

Buses

Tokyo’s bus network complements the train and subway lines, reaching areas that are less accessible by rail. Buses are frequent, reliable, and relatively easy to use, especially with the help of Google Maps or similar apps.

  • How to Use: Pay with cash or an IC card upon entering or exiting, depending on the bus line. The flat rate for a central Tokyo bus ride is usually around ¥210.
  • Costs: A standard fare for city buses is about ¥210, regardless of distance, within central Tokyo.
  • More Information: Look up specific routes and schedules via Toei Bus.

Bicycles

Renting a bicycle can be a pleasant and efficient way to explore Tokyo, especially in neighborhoods like Shibuya, Shinjuku, and along the Sumida River.

  • How to Use: Use bike-sharing services like Docomo Bike Share, where you can rent and return bikes at various docking stations across the city.
  • Costs: Prices vary; for example, Docomo Bike Share offers a ¥150 plan for 30 minutes.
  • More Information: Docomo Bike Share

Walking

Given Tokyo’s high density, walking is often the most enjoyable and direct way to explore the city, especially in areas with dense attractions like Asakusa, Harajuku, and Ginza.

How Do I Get from the International Airport to the City Center

Passengers with luggage in airport flat illustration
Image by pch.vector on Freepik

Tokyo is served by two main airports: Narita International Airport, located about 60 kilometers east of central Tokyo, and Haneda Airport, closer to the city center. Here are the main options for traveling between these airports and central Tokyo.

From Narita International Airport to Tokyo City Center

Narita Express (N’EX)

  • Description: The Narita Express offers direct, comfortable service to major stations in Tokyo, including Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and Yokohama. Each train is equipped with spacious seats, luggage storage, and free Wi-Fi.
  • Cost: Approximately ¥3,070 for a one-way trip to Tokyo Station. Discounts are available for foreign tourists with the Japan Rail Pass or N’EX Tokyo Round Trip Ticket.
  • Frequency: Trains depart every 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Travel Time: About 53 minutes to Tokyo Station.
  • More Information: Narita Express

Keisei Skyliner

  • Description: The Keisei Skyliner provides the fastest rail link between Narita Airport and Ueno Station in central Tokyo. The service is known for its speed and comfort.
  • Cost: ¥2,470 one way to Ueno.
  • Frequency: Every 20 to 40 minutes.
  • Travel Time: Approximately 41 minutes to Ueno.
  • More Information: Keisei Skyliner

Limousine Bus

  • Description: Airport Limousine buses offer direct connections to major hotels and landmarks in Tokyo. It’s a convenient option if you’re traveling with heavy luggage or staying near one of the bus stops.
  • Cost: Around ¥3,100 one way to central Tokyo locations.
  • Frequency: Buses depart approximately every 15 to 20 minutes during peak times.
  • Travel Time: 60 to 90 minutes, depending on traffic and destination.
  • More Information: Airport Limousine Bus

Taxi

  • Description: Taxis are available from Narita to Tokyo but can be very expensive, especially during peak traffic times.
  • Cost: Fares can exceed ¥20,000, with additional charges for tolls and late-night travel.
  • Travel Time: 60 to 90 minutes, depending on traffic.
  • More Information: It’s advisable to use taxis only for convenience or if you are traveling in a group, as this might justify the cost split among passengers.

Car Rental

  • Description: Car rental is an option for those who prefer to drive themselves. Several rental agencies operate at Narita Airport.
  • Cost: Varies by rental company and type of vehicle; expect daily rates to start from around ¥5,000 ($35 USD), excluding tolls and fuel.
  • More Information: Driving in Tokyo can be challenging due to traffic and navigation. Consider this option if you plan to visit areas outside Tokyo or are familiar with driving in Japan.
    • Keep in mind Japan drives on the left, and an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required for foreign drivers.

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Private Transfer

  • Description: For a hassle-free experience, you can book a private transfer. This service offers comfort, ease of mind, and direct travel from the airport to your accommodation.
  • Cost: Prices vary significantly by service provider, but expect to pay from ¥15,000 to ¥30,000 or more for a standard car or van.
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From Haneda Airport to Tokyo City Center

Tokyo Monorail

  • Description: The Tokyo Monorail links Haneda Airport with Hamamatsucho Station, where you can transfer to the JR Yamanote Line to reach other parts of Tokyo.
  • Cost: ¥500 to Hamamatsucho Station.
  • Frequency: Every 3 to 5 minutes during peak times.
  • Travel Time: Approximately 13 minutes to Hamamatsucho.
  • More Information: Tokyo Monorail.

Keikyu Line

  • Description: The Keikyu Line provides access to Shinagawa Station, where passengers can transfer to other JR lines, including the Yamanote Line.
  • Cost: Around ¥410 to Shinagawa.
  • Frequency: Every 10 minutes.
  • Travel Time: About 14 minutes to Shinagawa.
  • More Information: Keikyu Railways

Limousine Bus

  • Description: Similar to Narita, the Limousine Bus service connects Haneda Airport with major hotels and stations in Tokyo.
  • Cost: Approximately ¥930 to Tokyo Station.
  • Frequency: Every 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Travel Time: 30 to 45 minutes, depending on traffic and destination.
  • More Information: Airport Limousine Bus

Taxi

  • Description: Taxis from Haneda to central Tokyo are more affordable than from Narita but still costly compared to public transportation.
  • Cost: Fares range from ¥5,000 to ¥11,000, depending on destination and traffic.
  • Travel Time: 20 to 40 minutes.
  • More Information: Opt for taxis if you’re looking for convenience, especially late at night when other transport options may be less frequent.

Car Rental and Private Transfer

  • The options and considerations for car rental and private transfer from Haneda are similar to those from Narita, with the main difference being the shorter distance to central Tokyo.

Each of these options has its advantages, depending on your priorities such as cost, convenience, travel time, and the experience you’re looking for. Public transport offers an economical and efficient way to reach the city, while taxis, car rentals, and private transfers provide more comfort and flexibility at a higher cost.

How to Travel Between Cities and Regions in Japan

Three passengers on a train reading books and tablets

Traveling between cities in Japan is a remarkably efficient and pleasant experience thanks to the country’s advanced and extensive public transportation network. Here’s a more detailed look at the options available:

Shinkansen (Bullet Trains)

  • Description: The Shinkansen, or bullet trains, are a fast, comfortable, and efficient way to travel between major cities across Japan. The network extends from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south. Key routes include the Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo to Osaka), the Tohoku Shinkansen (Tokyo to Aomori), and the Kyushu Shinkansen (Fukuoka to Kagoshima).
  • Cost: Fares depend on distance and class. For example, Tokyo to Osaka costs around ¥14,450 one-way for a non-reserved seat in ordinary cars.
  • Travel Time: Varies by route; Tokyo to Osaka takes about 2.5 to 3 hours.
  • More Information: JR Central and Japan Rail Pass

Regional and Local Trains

  • Description: For shorter distances or to reach destinations not served by the Shinkansen, Japan’s network of regional and local trains offers a comprehensive coverage. These trains are operated by various companies, including JR lines and private railways.
  • Cost: Varies by distance; significantly cheaper than the Shinkansen for comparable distances. Tickets can be purchased at station ticket machines.
  • Travel Time: Depends on the route and number of transfers.
  • More Information: For planning, HyperDia (http://www.hyperdia.com/) and the Japan Rail Pass website are invaluable resources.

Highway Buses

  • Description: Highway buses are a budget-friendly alternative to trains, serving many cities and towns across Japan. They are especially useful for routes where train service is limited or expensive.
  • Cost: Varies by distance; for example, Tokyo to Kyoto can cost around ¥3,500 to ¥10,000 one-way, depending on the service level.
  • Travel Time: Longer than trains; Tokyo to Kyoto takes about 6 to 8 hours.

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Domestic Flights

  • Description: For long distances or to reach islands like Okinawa, domestic flights can be a time-saving option. Japan has several airlines, including ANA, Japan Airlines, and budget carriers like Peach Aviation and Jetstar Japan.
  • Cost: Varies widely; look out for discount campaigns and early booking deals. Sometimes, air travel can be competitive with Shinkansen prices, especially with low-cost carriers.
  • Travel Time: Short flight times but consider additional time for airport procedures and travel to/from airports.
  • More Information: Check airline websites or aggregate sites like Skyscanner (https://www.skyscanner.com) for routes and prices.

Ferries

  • Description: For travel between Japan’s islands, ferries are a practical and scenic option. This includes routes like the ferry from the mainland to Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu, as well as services to smaller islands.
  • Cost: Varies by route and accommodation type (from deck seats to private cabins).
  • Travel Time: Can range from a few hours to overnight, depending on the distance.
  • More Information: Directly check the websites of ferry companies serving your intended route for schedules and fares.

Rental Cars

  • Description: Renting a car can offer flexibility for exploring rural areas or regions with sparse public transport. It’s particularly handy for visiting national parks, remote islands (accessible by car ferries), or for touring at your own pace.
  • Cost: Daily rental rates start from about ¥5,000, plus fuel and tolls.
  • Travel Time: Depends on distance and road conditions. Japan drives on the left, and an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required for foreign drivers.

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Each transportation method has its unique advantages, catering to different travel styles, budgets, and destinations. Planning ahead and combining various modes of transport can make your journey through Japan both efficient and enjoyable.

Is There Uber Eats in Tokyo

Cartoon image of a man and his phone showing food delivery options

Uber Eats operates extensively in Tokyo, offering a wide variety of food delivery options from local eateries to international chains. It provides a convenient way for residents and travelers alike to enjoy a diverse range of cuisines without leaving the comfort of their home or accommodation.

  • How to Use: Users can order via the Uber Eats app, available for iOS and Android. The app interface is user-friendly, allowing for easy browsing of restaurants, menu items, and tracking of your order in real time.
  • Cost: Prices for meals vary by restaurant. There is a delivery fee that depends on the distance from the restaurant to your location, often ranging from ¥300 to ¥500. Occasionally, promotions or discounts are available to users.
  • Availability: Uber Eats in Tokyo covers a broad area, including central neighborhoods and many suburbs, with service hours typically extending from early morning until late at night.
  • More Information: Uber Eats

Alternatives to Uber Eats in Tokyo

Tokyo’s food delivery market is competitive, offering several alternatives to Uber Eats. Here are some of the most popular services:

Demae-can (出前館)

  • Description: Demae-can is one of Japan’s largest food delivery services, offering a wide range of options from sushi and ramen to international dishes.
  • How to Use: Orders can be placed through their website or mobile app, with an interface available in Japanese. Some understanding of the language may be necessary to navigate the app efficiently.
  • Cost: Similar to Uber Eats, prices vary by restaurant, plus a delivery fee based on distance. Demae-can often runs discount campaigns and offers coupons to users.
  • Availability: Wide coverage in Tokyo, including many areas not serviced by Uber Eats.
  • More Information: Demae-can

Foodpanda

  • Description: Foodpanda, an international food delivery service, operates in Tokyo, offering a selection of restaurants for various cuisines and tastes.
  • How to Use: Available through its mobile app and website, Foodpanda offers an easy ordering process, with some restaurants providing the option for “contactless delivery.”
  • Cost: Restaurant prices vary, and the delivery fee is calculated based on the distance. Periodic promotions provide good value to customers.
  • Availability: Primarily focused on central Tokyo and some surrounding areas, the service is expanding its reach.
  • More Information: Foodpanda

Wolt

  • Description: Wolt is a newer entrant to the Tokyo food delivery scene, quickly gaining popularity for its user-friendly app and service quality.
  • How to Use: The Wolt app is straightforward, offering an English interface and a simple ordering process. Users can track their orders in real time.
  • Cost: Prices depend on the restaurant, with a delivery charge based on the delivery distance. Wolt frequently offers promotional codes for discounts.
  • Availability: While its coverage is currently more limited compared to Uber Eats, Wolt is rapidly expanding in Tokyo.
  • More Information: Wolt

Each of these services offers something unique, whether it’s the variety of food options, ease of use, service area, or promotional deals. With the growing demand for food delivery in Tokyo, these platforms compete by continuously improving their services and expanding their restaurant partnerships, providing customers with a multitude of dining choices at their fingertips.

Final Thoughts on Transport and Uber in Tokyo

Navigating the dynamic landscape of Tokyo’s transportation and food delivery services reveals a city at the intersection of tradition and innovation. Whether you’re gliding through the metropolis aboard the sleek Shinkansen, exploring hidden gems via the extensive subway system, or savoring the flavors of Tokyo through its diverse food delivery options, the city caters to every preference and need.

Uber’s presence in Tokyo, primarily offering premium services, complements an already comprehensive public transportation network, ensuring that travelers and residents alike can find a mode of transport that suits their lifestyle and budget. Uber and its alternatives like DiDi, JapanTaxi, and GO offer a seamless travel experience for those seeking convenience and a taste of luxury.

On the culinary front, Tokyo’s food delivery scene is as varied and vibrant as its streets. Uber Eats, alongside local giants such as Demae-can and international contenders like Foodpanda and Wolt, ensures that the city’s gastronomic delights are just a tap away. These platforms not only provide access to a wide array of dining options but also reflect Tokyo’s embracing of digital innovation to enhance daily life.

From the efficiency and reliability of its public transport to the convenience and diversity of its food delivery services, Tokyo stands as a testament to the seamless blend of tradition and modernity. This guide has explored the many facets of navigating and dining in Tokyo, offering insights into the practicalities of urban travel and the joys of urban eating. As Tokyo continues to evolve, so too will the ways in which we explore and experience this ever-fascinating city.

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