Taxis await at train and subway stations, or at hotels. At Sapporo Station, there are taxi lanes provided in front of the South and North exits. Or call a taxi company to be picked up, no charge for pickup service in Hokkaido. Taxis can hold four or five passengers, depending on the size of the car. Taxi fares also vary depending on the size of the car and location.
In the Sapporo area, taxis charge 600 ~ 650 yen for the first 1600 meters (one mile), and the fare goes up every 309 ~ 334 meters (1,014 ~ 1,096 feet) at a rate of 80 ~ 90 yen. Expressway tolls are separately charged.
From 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., a 20% increased rate applies. On the other hand, a fare after reaching 5,000 yen, the rate begins to decrease by 20% ~ 30%, depending on taxis.
A taxi fare is charged by distance and time; that is, while waiting in traffic or at a red light becomes a part of the fare.
Just an idea—other parts of Hokkaido, for example, Asahikawa taxis charge for the first 1400 meters (.87 mile) 560 yen, Hakodate taxis for the first 1400 meters (.87 mile) 550 yen.
Taxis in Iwate prefecture (the northern part of Honshu) charge for the first 1500 meters (.93 mile) 520 yen, and the Tokyo area, for the first 2000 meters (1.24 miles) 710 yen.
To catch a taxi on the street, look at the taxi and raise your hand.
A red plate displayed on the front windshield indicates a vacant taxi, while a green plate indicates an occupied taxi.
All Japanese taxis' left rear door opens automatically. Make sure your hand is away from the door, for the driver remotely operates the left rear door to open and close.
Whether the passenger is Japanese or non-Japanese, it is always a good idea to show the driver the precise address including the zip code of the destination. This way, both the driver and the passenger can save time and frustration.
Pay the fare shown on the meter in the front of the taxi.
Tipping is not necessary, as the service is included in the price. The same applies to restaurants and hotels in Japan.
Let the automatic door open for you to get off the taxi.
Since the spring of 2009, the company called "MK Taxi" from Kyoto has been extending its market into Hokkaido, 550 yean for the first one mile. Their service is reputable, too. The trademark is a heart shaped sign placed on the car roof with the MK letters in it.