A Japanese Taxi on a City Street uber in japan

Is There Uber in Japan? Tips & Everything You Need to Know

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Although Japan has an incredibly efficient public transport train system, from my experience sometimes taking an Uber in Tokyo or taking a ride sharing app in Japan was the better option. Especially when you’re lugging luggage from the airport or to your hotel. So does Japan have Uber? Read on to find out.

No time to read it all?

Here’s a quick highlight: Yes, there is Uber in Japan, but mostly for booking taxis, not private rides. It’s less popular than apps like Go due to regulations limiting services.

Taxis are still preferred by locals, while Uber focuses on airports and occasional trips. Rules may relax in future, but for now Uber plays a niche role. I recommend you hire a Private Driver and sit back and relax and be driven to all the sights. Book a private driver now.

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Is There Uber in Japan? Tips & Everything You Need to Know

Want more details? Read on below for a comprehensive guide on using Uber effectively in Japan. I always recommend a private shuttle or a private driver especially if you are going from or to the airport. Sure, you can take an uber but you’ll wait 15-30 minutes for an uber to show up. Book a private driver now who will be waiting for you.

Does Uber operate in Japan? Service Options Available in Japan

Uber entered Japan in 2018, but with restrictions on ride-sharing. The main Uber tiers here are:

  • Uber Taxi – Hails regular cabs via app. Metered fares plus small booking fees.
  • Uber Black – Luxury sedans with pro drivers. Very expensive per mile.
  • Uber Black Van – Larger premium vehicles. Also a costly option.

Standard peer-to-peer rides like UberX don’t exist in Japan due to regulations on private car services.

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Explaining Uber in Japan Lack of Popularity 

While a lifeline replacing poor taxi services abroad, ride-hailing apps struggle to displace Japan’s efficient cab infrastructure. Reasons Uber hasn’t caught on include:

  • Strict licensing – Becoming a driver requires tests, permits and meeting vehicle standards. Limits Uber’s potential fleet.
  • High taxi standards – Japanese cabs have new cars, uniformed drivers and fair fares. Quality is already reliable.
  • Higher Uber pricing – Even booking a taxi adds surcharges on top of metered rates. Black cars are very expensive.
  • Longer Uber waits – Abundant taxis versus limited Uber cars means quicker cab pickups.
A Japanese Taxi on a City Street  uber in japan

Tip: From my personal experience, Tokyo uber and in many other towns I visited in Japan, you can use the Uber app to hail a taxi, but it’s not “branded” as an Uber ride. It’s a regular taxi.

The pricing is sometimes more expensive than hailing a taxi on the street since it includes a standard “surcharge” for coming to pick you up. 

Using Uber in Japan Effectively 

Uber now covers all major metro regions focusing on airport transfers over urban trips. But local taxis still beat them for inner-city routes thanks to:

  • Language barrier – Uber app is English-only. Locals favor Japanese-language taxi platforms.
  • Sparse supply – Nowhere near enough Uber vehicles vs tens of thousands of city cabs.
  • Cost premium – Base fees and surcharges make Uber pricier than metered fares.

So Uber functions, but plays a supporting transportation role.

Can Regulations Change to Favor Uber in Japan?

The government is considering allowing ride-sharing during off-peak cab times. But major taxi licensing reforms appear unlikely for now. Hence, Uber’s near-term place is:

  • Airport convenience – Booking ease appeals to visitors new to navigating airports.
  • Filling availability gaps – Supplementary option when taxis are scarce late nights.
  • Familiarity for expats – Those missing Uber abroad may use it despite the extra cost.

While not replacing taxis soon, Uber should keep steadily growing its Japan presence.

Japan uber Alternatives: Japan taxi app for foreigners 

While Uber fills a ride-hailing niche in Japan, other apps offer better taxi and private car services.

Tip: I mainly used Didi because the GO app you needed a Japanese phone number to sign up. Here are all the taxi ride sharing options in Japan:

Go ( Go taxi Japan ) 

  • Most widely used taxi app in Japan
  • Covers all 47 prefectures
  • Accepts credit card payments
  • Downsides are Japanese-only interface, and booking fees

DiDi

  • Chinese app operational since 2018
  • Has an English and Spanish interface
  • Mainly serves major cities like Tokyo and Osaka

NearMe

  • Provides private and shared shuttle services
  • Airport transfers, commute rides, golf shuttles
  • Shared options like NearMe Town lower costs

The Go app beats Uber’s user base and coverage reach. DiDi also appeals better to non-Japanese visitors with its multilingual platform. And NearMe competes through affordable ridesharing programs.

So although Uber was first to market, other Japan ride-hailing services have localized advantages and features that fit better with consumer needs and regulations. When getting around via ride app, be sure to compare pricing and availability across these alternatives along with Uber.

is uber expensive in japan ?

if you’re wondering how much is an uber in tokyo or in japan, It’s comparable to booking a taxi, but it’s more expensive than hailing a taxi. i’d say the average we paid was about 1,000 yen. It starts at 500 yen  for short distances and increases based on distance. 

Handy Tips for Using Uber Japan Effectively in Japan

To maximize value, here are some Uber best practices while in Japan:

  • Compare fares – Check Uber Taxi against apps like Go for cheapest rides.
  • Avoid high tiers – Uber Black gets very pricey very fast.
  • Book early – Give more lead time to boost driver availability.
  • Provide destinations – Supply Japanese addresses to help drivers locate you.
  • Have cash backup – In case of app issues, carry payment alternatives.

In summary – yes, Uber is available throughout Japan. But it currently plays a secondary transport role compared to taxis. As regulation evolves, Uber may gain a stronger foothold through efficiency improvements and filling availability gaps.

Ultimate japan travel planning Guide

Planning a trip to japan:

find these helpful articles and resources to plan your trip to Japan:

Tokyo City Guide:

Kyoto City Guide

Takayama City Guide

Kanazawa City Guide

Osaka

nikko

Hakone

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Fukuoka

Japan Travel Guide:

I hope this detailed guide gives you all the key information about using Uber effectively in Japan! I recently visited Bora Bora for my honeymoon and am happy to discuss other travel experiences as well. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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