In every country I've been in - save for Japan - cars have their mirrors on their doors. Even most cars in Japan do but the taxis don't. Any ideas as to why? It just seems strange. Here's a pic:

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Compare to this:

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  • 10
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about cars, not travel. It's not just taxis in Japan that have these mirrors, but many vehicles.
    – Doc
    Jun 15, 2014 at 4:16
  • 9
    Other vehicles in Japan. See japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/11/18/reference/fender-mirrors for a good description. This still doesn't make it a travel question though...
    – Doc
    Jun 15, 2014 at 8:10
  • 14
    I'm not saying that this is on topic, but we have questions on toilets, identifying things etc. I think we can pay some heed to a man's curiosity while traveling in this case as well. AFAIK there isn't a good SE for this question as of now. Jun 16, 2014 at 4:59
  • 5
    I agree with @AdityaSomani we should cater curiosity question here. There are a dozen example of similar questions
    – user141
    Jun 16, 2014 at 8:49
  • 5
    I argue that this question should be reopened and recognised as a valid question on travel.se meta.travel.stackexchange.com/questions/1758/…
    – user141
    Jun 16, 2014 at 14:43

2 Answers 2


Thanks @Doc for the useful link at Japan Times.

The main reason taxi drivers prefer fender mirrors is that they provide better visibility,” Osuga explained. “There is less of a blind spot so it’s easier to confirm what is happening at the rear and side of the car, especially on the driver’s side.”

Another advantage of fender mirrors compared to door mirrors is they protrude less from the body of the car, which can really help when maneuvering in Japan’s narrow roads and crowded traffic. “Those centimeters may not matter for the average driver,” Osuga allowed. “But for professional drivers, who are behind the wheel all day, it makes a big difference.”

Finally, taxi drivers feel that fender mirrors allow their customers greater privacy because drivers can use the mirrors without turning their head toward the passenger seat. “There’s no way to use side-door mirrors without turning your head significantly to the side,” Osuga explained. “That motion might be misconstrued as an effort to look into the back seat, in a way that would invade the customer’s privacy. To avoid that possibility, and to extend as much privacy as possible to their customers, professional drivers prefer fender mirrors, which they can use without turning their head.”

  • 13
    I've used many taxis and never gave it any thought, but your last paragraph makes PERFECT sense... for Japan.
    – Celada
    Jun 24, 2014 at 18:37
  • Do customers often sit in the passenger seat in taxis in Japan, then? Sep 3, 2014 at 17:12
  • 1
    @starsplusplus Bit of a late answer but when I rode a taxi in Japan we were with a group of 4. So yes, with enough persons.
    – Riley
    May 19, 2017 at 12:53

We use fender mirrors on our support vans for bicycle tours. They have one huge advantage in that they show us what is right next to and just behind our shoulders on both sides of the vans. These areas are blind spots with the door mirrors and require taking your eyes off the road ahead to swivel around and look. And I imagine with the longer hood of the taxi, this improvement would be even greater than on our vans.

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