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Is There Uber in Japan? Everything You Need to Know

Updated January 10, 2022

Is there Uber in Japan? Yes, but...the whole answer is more complicated. Read on to why, although it exists, Uber may not be your best option when you travel to Japan

Navigate with confidence by having a local plan your trip. Our trip planners are Japanese locals who can give you valuable insight on how to get around their hometown—and which ramen places to hit up first. Learn more.

Yes, there is Uber in Japan…kind of

Uber has only existed in big cities in Japan since May 2018, so the service is still relatively new. Locals tell us that although Japan does have Uber, it’s not super well-known and it’s definitely not the most convenient option when it comes to traveling around the more sprawling places in Japan, namely cities like Kyoto or Tokyo.

For now, it's primarily used for airport pickups and dropoffs

Most people traveling to Japan only use Uber for airport trips. As you analyze your Japan travel budget, keep in mind that you can definitely find more cost-effective ways of getting around the city besides Uber. Benefit from local knowledge—locals in Japan can give tips on the easiest (and most budget-friendly) ways to get to-and-from the airport. 

Generally, Uber is scarce and $$$

Ubers in Japan are few and costly, which might explain why they’re not exactly a crowd favorite. Use local advice to save money—locals living in Japan tell us most cities have cheaper and more efficient transportation alternatives, like taxis and metros.

Standard taxis are your best bet for inner-city travel

Traveling in Tokyo is made easy with a variety of options. There is an underground metro system that provides rapid transit, and many people use taxis to get around. Locals tell us that taxi culture is big in Japan—you'll notice that taxi drivers dress formally, often sporting white gloves. Taking a taxi is an easy, convenient option, especially if it’s your first time in Tokyo.

JapanTaxi App is Uber’s Japanese cousin

Before traveling to Japan, think about downloading the JapanTaxi App. The app provides a platform for multiple taxi companies (Japan is full of small taxi corporations, the majority of them with 10 cars or less). It is still new, utilize local knowledge—ask locals about the app while planning your trip to Japan 

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The Japanese Railway is great for traveling the country

JR Passes can be used on bullet trains

Japanese bullet trains, or shinkansen in Japanese, aren't just high-speed—they're the fastest in the world. It’s safe to say they’ll take you where you want to go in no time. If this is your first time in Japan, a ride on a bullet train is a uniquely Japanese experience you can’t miss—so make sure to buy a Japanese Rail Pass (discounted tickets just for travelers) and all aboard! You can even buy your JR Pass online before your trip.

Local Tip:

If you’re planning on hitting up all the best places in Japan, you’ll want to get a rail pass. The Japanese Rail Pass—JR Pass for short—is a discounted rail pass for travelers. It’s a must-get for your trip to Japan. Locals recommend buying in advance.

"How did I ever not travel like this?! Ana’s local insight & planning was a game changer. It’s like having a digital concierge, travel agent, and local fixer all rolled into one!"
Sierra, recent ViaHero traveler to Portugal
Sierra, recent ViaHero traveler to Portugal
Still have questions about travel to Japan?
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