As Japanese manhole covers are unique to their area, so are the often ornate, Japanese taxi company signs on the roofs of taxi cabs in Japan.
Illuminated at night when vacant, these taxi cab signs advertise the taxi company the cab belongs to, or the motif proclaims that the taxi is independent and owned by the driver., although the driver will still probably be working through one of the larger taxi groups.
Taxi fares in Japan begin at a hefty 720 yen for the first 2km in Tokyo but cabs are a safe means of transport if you have missed the last bus or train. If you are traveling in a group of four don't think twice, jump in a taxi if you are without public transport.
Common motifs for Japanese taxi signs are lanterns and symbols that represent the area's main characteristics or major products. Thus Tendo taxis in Tohoku have Japanese chess (shoji) motifs as Tendo is the major producer of Japanese chess pieces in the country.
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Friday, May 23, 2008