Download Before Your Trip! How to Use Japan’s Top Taxi App For Smoother Travel

Japan is world-renowned for its public transport network, but for big groups, tight schedules, or exploring remote areas, a taxi is often the more convenient option. Thankfully, catching a taxi in Japan is now even easier thanks to the GO taxi app, which lets you hail a cab in English using your smartphone. Read on to learn more about GO, and see some situations where it will come in handy!

*This article was sponsored by GO Taxi.

Japan Taxi Apps For Stress-Free Rides

In March 2024, over 3 million international travelers visited Japanーthe largest single-month number ever recorded. The popularity of Japanese culture across the globe coupled with the weak yen has cemented it as an irresistible travel destination. But as demand increases, crowded attractions make it more important than ever to plan your Japan itinerary with care. 

One way to maximize your time in Japan is with the taxi app GO, which lets you hail Japanese taxis on your smartphone, along with set destinations and even pay through the app. GO takes the hassle out of tracking down a taxi on the street or asking hotel staff, facilitating both speedy and relaxing travel.

GO Taxi App Now Available to Overseas Travelers

Unlike many countries, ride sharing hasn’t taken off in Japan, and traditional taxis are still the norm. Japanese taxi drivers are renowned for their professionalism, but language barriers have often stood in the way of smooth travel for overseas visitors.

Thankfully, travelers to Japan now have access to multilingual taxi apps like GO. GO is Japan’s most popular taxi app, and is available in 45 of 47 Japanese prefectures. It has traveler-friendly English settings and can be quickly set up as soon as you enter Japan.

 

 

Signing up for GO is a breeze, and international cell phone numbers and credit cards are accepted. Just download GO before leaving for Japan to begin using it soon after you arrive. Here’s a brief guide on how to get started with GO:


1. Find the GO / Taxi app for Japan in the App Store or Google Play.
2. After downloading GO, sign up and register a phone number (your country’s phone number is ok). 3. Enter the four digit code sent via SMS.
4. Enter your name (other details are optional).
5. Register a credit card (international cards are accepted, this can also be skipped or completed later).
6. Allow location services and other necessary permissions.
Done!

Note: Depending on your country’s regulations, you may not be able to register for the GO app outside of Japan. In this case, wait until arriving in Japan to register.

 

6 Ways the GO Taxi App Can Improve Your Trip to Japan

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you need a Japanese taxi app, here are 6 examples of how GO can improve your holiday to Japan!

1. When Traveling Rural Japan

While frequent trains timed to the second are the norm in cities like Tokyo, public transportation is much more limited in rural Japan, which can prove a problem for tight schedules. Opting for a taxi grants the freedom to embark on deeper, self-paced adventures without restrictive timetables and routes. 

Hakone, a popular Tokyo day-trip destination, for example, is well-connected by train and bus, but with the GO taxi app, you’ll be able to tour both classic spots and hidden gems at your leisure without worrying about timetables.

You’ll be able to hike around the surreal volcanic valley of Owakudani, fully admire the evocative works in the Hakone Open-Air Museum, and spend as long as you like capturing the perfect shot of Lake Ashi backed by Mt. Fuji.

Plus, if you want to continue traversing the base of Mt. Fuji, you can have your taxi take you to other popular spots, which are difficult to access by public transportation without returning to Tokyo. For example, you can make the Gotemba Premium Outlets shopping paradise your starting point for sightseeing around the nearby area via taxi. 

So, if you want to venture out into rural Japan, but don’t have access to a rental car, then organizing a taxi with GO is a convenient alternative. What’s more, if you’re splitting the taxi fare between a group, it’s often quite affordable and worth the price!

2. If You’ve Missed the Last Train

Many travelers to Japan are shocked to learn just how early train services stop running. Even in nightlife hotspots like Tokyo, if you’re not at the station by 12:00 am, you run the risk of being stuck until sunrise.

Instead of cutting your night short, we recommend forgoing the final train and using GO to call a taxi to take you back to your hotel once you’ve finished partying. Japanese taxi drivers are known for their trustworthiness, so even if you’ve had a few drinks, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that you’re getting back safe and sound.

Plus, you can use GO to get to and from the airport for late-night flights. Open the app using airport Wi-Fi while lining up at immigration, and call a cab from the airport to go straight to your hotel (and vice versa). A taxi is also a reliable way to get to the airport for those worried about missing flights. 

Better yet, GO offers the Airport Flat Fare function for trips from Tokyo's 23 wards along with Musashino City and Mitaka City to Haneda Airport and Narita Airport. These flat fare rides are cheaper than distance-based fares, and no advance reservation is required.

3. After Shopping Sprees

Many come to Japan looking to load up on anime merch, and there’s nowhere better than subculture hubs like Tokyo’s Akihabara, Nakano Broadway, and Ikebukuro along with Den-Den Town in Osaka. These bustling neighborhoods are crammed with stores selling anime figures, books, posters, media, and more, as well as both new and vintage games, consoles, and a wealth of other electronics. 

Once you start shopping in Japan, it’s almost impossible to stop, which is why it’s smart to grab yourself a taxi in Japan using GO instead of lugging around your haul on the street or train. Along with saving energy, you won’t be annoying commuters by taking up precious space, letting you shop guilt-free. 

Those shopping for traditional Japanese crafts like lacquerware, textiles, pottery, ironware, and other delicate or heavy objects would likewise do well to keep them secure in a taxi. A taxi also eliminates the pain of heaving your luggage to the airport, and you can even stop for one final shop before your flight!
 

4. Navigating Skiing and Snowboarding Areas

Along with shopping, many travel to Japan with winter sports in mind. Japan’s ski resorts are famous for their divine powder snow, particularly in northern areas like Niseko in Hokkaido.

While larger ski resorts are often equipped with public transport, local facilities are much more isolated. These lesser-known spots are attractive to skiers and snowboarders wanting to discover new runs and avoid the crowds, but while renting a car is a possibility, driving in the snow is dangerous. 

Instead, we recommend organizing a Japanese taxi on GO, and sitting back while your taxi driver navigates the icy mountain roads for you. You’ll be able to design your own skiing itinerary to maximize time, as well as relax at nearby hotels, hot springs, or restaurants in between sessions.

5. Traveling Japan With Family

Japan is a safe, comfortable destination for family vacations with kids and grandparents. However, the dense cityscapes and sweltering summers can make long days difficult for children and seniors. So, before kids get cranky or elderly parents tire out, call a taxi on GO to enjoy a well-deserved break while staying on the move. With built-up fatigue erased, your family trip is bound to be nothing but cherished memories. 

6. When You’re Not Feeling 100%

As mentioned, travel is tiring, and pushing yourself can run you down. Instead, if you’re feeling fatigued, call a taxi on GO to take you back to your hotel for a strategic rest. Even just a small pause in your itinerary can make a big difference! 

Plus, you can have a taxi take you to hospitals or clinics, or to a pharmacy to pick up medicine if there isn’t one nearby. Whatever the situation, if you need to get somewhere fast, and are not up to navigating public transport or walking, then requesting a taxi on the GO app is a good stand-in. Of course, always call an ambulance if it’s an emergency.

How to Use the GO Taxi App

To use GO to hail a taxi straightaway, tap on the “Ride” tab to see your current location on a map. You can then request a taxi to come to you, or move the pin to a new spot.

Next, enter your destination on the app so that the taxi driver knows where to go after picking you up.

 

Once you’re set, click “Request Taxi,” and a taxi will be on its way to your pick-up point. The estimated arrival time will be shown as you wait, and if something comes up, you can send a message directly to your Japanese taxi driver in English, or they can send a message to you. 

Those who registered a credit card in advance can pay for the taxi ride on the app via GO Pay. When the trip ends, the final amount (which may differ from the estimate) will be charged to your card, so you can leave the taxi quickly without fussing about cash or credit cards. Of course, the app also gives you the option to pay the taxi driver directly after the ride. And if you accidently forget something in the taxi, the GO app stores ride history and receipts, so you can immediately get in touch with the taxi company. 

Explore Japan Effortlessly With the GO Taxi App

As you now know, there are numerous instances where a taxi in Japan can make your trip even better. With the taxi app GO on your smartphone, you’ll be able to freely use Japanese taxis to get around without language concerns, alleviating the stress that comes with overseas travel. Download GO to unlock all the benefits of taxi travel for your next Japan trip! 

 

 

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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About the author

Steve
Steve Csorgo
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Steve currently lives in Niigata City. His passions include discovering local sake, reading, and traveling to as much of Japan as possible. Hot springs, historical sites, and untouched nature are some of his favorite things about Japan. He enjoys writing about traditional crafts, offbeat yet charming towns, and interesting local stories.
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