Sightseeing Around Kyoto by Taxi – Look for the Lucky Four-Leaf Clover Taxi!
Chartering a taxi is one of the most efficient ways to make the most of your trip to Kyoto. If you’re lucky enough you might manage to ride the Four-Leaf Clover Taxi, one of the city's rarest cab services that even locals can barely catch. Continue reading to learn more about the different sightseeing taxis you can charter to travel around the old Japanese capital.
Sightseeing Taxis Are Highly Recommended in Kyoto! Lucky Ones Get the Four-Leaf Clover Taxi
Contrary to what people might think, Kyoto tends to be less convenient than other tourist destinations because it offers fewer railway lines and its heavy traffic makes it difficult for buses to operate on time. Preparing a sightseeing schedule can be a stressful task, since some of the most famous locations are somewhat distant, making them hard to visit using only public transportation.
Sightseeing taxis, on the other hand, have the advantage of navigating with more efficiency from location to location, not to mention there’s no waiting time.
Cab drivers of these charter services prove to be excellent guides as well, so you can consult with him or her about your travel plan and enjoy a pleasant conversation en route. Having a private driver is a great way to make unforgettable memories because not only do they guide you inside the different tourist attractions but also offer to take your pictures.
Cabs that show a four-leaf clover logo are some of the most popular sightseeing taxis in Kyoto. Just as real four-leaf clovers, these vehicles are so rare that locals even stop to take pictures when they find one by chance. Luck is on your side if you ever manage to catch one of them!
The History Behind the Four-Leaf Clover Taxi
The long-established Yasaka Taxi Group, one of the best taxi companies in Kyoto, is responsible for operating the cabs with the four-leaf clover logo. Chartered taxis from this company are very popular among foreign visitors because they have English speaking drivers very well informed about the city and its tourist attractions.
The origins behind the lucky charm logo trace back to when a wet leaf blown by the wind ended up falling exactly on the original logo for Yasaka Taxi – a trefoil, similar to a shamrock leaf – making it look like a four-leaf clover completely by chance. A passenger that took this taxi later sent a letter to the company saying that “since I rode that cab my luck has improved in many ways,” and so the Four-Leaf Clover Taxi was born.
The Yasaka Taxi Group has a fleet of around 1,400 vehicles, but only four of these display the four-leaf clover, that is, only one in 350! Now you know the reason why people get so excited when they find one of these lucky charm taxis. Catching one of them will surely make your trip to Kyoto even more unforgettable.
The Appeal Behind the Four-Leaf Clover Taxi
Unfortunately, you can’t make a reservation for the Four-Leaf Clover Taxi; they run through the city like every other taxi, and there’s no way to know when they will be used as a sightseeing taxi. Passengers that are lucky enough to catch one receive a commemorative card and a four-leaf clover sticker. You should consider yourself extremely fortunate if you manage to catch a glimpse of this rare cab during your trip because they are very hard to find even when you are searching for them.
Yasaka Taxi's charter fees range from 20,400 JPY for 4 hours to 51,000 JPY for 10 hours for a regular cab for four passengers (as of April 1, 2019). English speaking drivers to guide you around are available at no additional charge. There is a “Free Plan” that allows you to make your own route within the time limit, a “Special Course” that includes seasonal sightseeing courses, and other great plans that include restaurants and events around Kyoto.
Lucky passengers receive a commemorative card and four-leaf clover sticker.
Other Taxi Companies in Kyoto and Their Fees
The Yasaka Taxi Group is not the only one offering sightseeing taxis in Kyoto. Other cab companies also provide similar services so that you can enjoy traveling around the city with more comfort. Here are two out of many other companies providing sightseeing taxis.
MK Taxi, Knowledge and Tradition
First, you have MK Taxi, a taxi company as popular as the Yasaka Taxi Group. MK is highly regarded in all aspects, especially for the quality of its cabs and the excellent customer service provided by its drivers. The company knows the city inside out, so it can offer sightseeing plans of high quality and comfort within a few moments after meeting and hearing the customers’ requests. At MK, the price for chartering a regular cab for four passengers for 4 hours is 22,950 JPY (prices may vary depending on the season).
Yuyu Kyoto and its Squad of Veteran Drivers
The second one is a small company called Yuyu Kyoto, which consists of only five private taxis. Drivers at Yuyu have at least 10 years of experience behind the wheel and use their knowledge and driving expertise to provide great sightseeing plans around Kyoto. Their charter fee is relatively cheaper, offering a 4-hour plan for 18,640 JPY. The only downside is that you have to make a reservation much sooner than other companies, due to their limited number of cabs.
Make the Most of Kyoto with a Chartered Taxi
Chartering a taxi is in no way cheap, but it's much more efficient than using public transportation and also offers you the opportunity to learn in-depth about the city through the explanations provided by the driver. If you are with a small group and have some extra budget to spare, you should definitely consider using this convenient service to make the most of your trip to Kyoto.
Taking into consideration that public transportation in Kyoto can be somewhat inconvenient, chartering a taxi that navigates you around is a great alternative! Make the most of Japan’s old capital with the sightseeing taxi services provided by MK Taxi, Yuyu Kyoto, and Yasaka Taxi Group and its lucky Four-Leaf Clover Taxis
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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