When traveling with luggage in Japan, keep in mind that the country is perfect for shopping, but not for large suitcases. Packing lightly is recommended, as your suitcase may become heavier throughout your trip.
To avoid difficulty, check out our tips on what to do with luggage in Japan before your visit. This way, you can enjoy a successful trip and heavy-duty shopping.
Traveling with luggage on public transport in Japan
Subways and Trains
When traveling on subways and trains in Japan, there is usually no designated space for luggage. It is best to avoid seating near the carriage doors and instead store your bags in the small space between the doors and the seating. For small suitcases and bags, there is overhead storage.
Additionally, the first and last carriages often have large standing areas, and the last carriage typically has a buggy space that can also be used for suitcases. However, be sure to move your luggage if a parent with a buggy appears.
If you are traveling on the Shinkansen train in Japan with a large suitcase, keep in mind that there is often no dedicated luggage area. Only small suitcases and bags can be stored overhead.
The very front and back seats in each carriage have a bit of extra space, which can be used to store larger suitcases. However, it can only be used by those who have booked the reserved seats immediately in front of the space or paid the 1,000 yen non-reserved service charge upon boarding. For details, check this article.
If you are staying in one of the major hotels, it is recommended to request that they deliver your luggage to your next hotel for a fee instead of carrying it on the Shinkansen.
Advice for during rush hour
During rush hour in Japan, it is best to avoid traveling with a large suitcase if possible. However, if you must travel with a big suitcase, aim for the very front or back carriages, where there may be more space. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time ahead of any deadlines to avoid stress, and consider using other forms of transportation when possible.
When traveling on highway buses in Japan, you'll find that they are designed with travelers in mind. There is typically plenty of space in the luggage compartment below deck for suitcases, as most Japanese travelers only carry small suitcases. Additionally, there is usually room above your seat for a small bag. Buses traveling to and from the airport also have ample space for suitcases.
If you have large or a lot of luggage, city buses in Japan may not be the best option. These buses can be quite compact, and there is usually very limited space for baggage.
Since buses are frequently used by local residents, it may be seen as an annoyance to try and use them for luggage storage. Instead, consider using a taxi, which can be inexpensive for short distances, or other forms of transportation. It's also worth checking if your hotel provides a free bus service with dedicated luggage space.
When traveling with luggage in Japan, taxis can be a convenient and reliable option. They are typically clean, with friendly and helpful drivers, and offer fixed prices, so you can be assured you won't be overcharged. Taxis are also reasonably priced for short distances, and are often more convenient than local buses, with the added benefit of being able to accommodate your luggage easily.
Taxis in Japan usually have large trunks, and in some cases, a suitcase can even fit in the front passenger seat if needed. They can typically hold a couple of large suitcases, or a combination of a large suitcase, a medium suitcase, and small bags. Additionally, there are minivans and larger cabs available that can accommodate even more luggage, making them a great option for families traveling together.
The size of the car you rent will determine the amount of space you have for luggage. Smaller sub-compact cars offer limited space, while larger cars can accommodate more luggage depending on the number of passengers. A small car can fit one large suitcase or a few small ones, whereas larger cars with three passengers can hold a couple of large suitcases or three smaller bags.
Sedans can fit four passengers and two large suitcases, while station wagons, SUVs, and minivans can easily hold three large suitcases with four passengers. Choose a car that is suitable for the number of passengers and amount of luggage you plan to bring.
Storing luggage in Japan
How big are coin lockers in Japan?
Coin lockers in Japan typically come in a few different sizes.
・Small: Approx. 35cm x 34cm x 57cm (13in x 13in x 22in). Available at most stations.
・Medium: Approx. 57cm x 34cm x 57cm (22in x 13in x 22in). Fewer available in stations.
・Large: Approx. 117cm x 34cm x 57cm (44in x 13in x 22in). Very few are available in stations.
Where to find coin lockers in Japan
Coin lockers can be found in many stations, and the larger the station, the more lockers you can usually find. For example, Shinjuku Station has over 3,500 lockers, but most of them are small. There are only 266 large or bigger lockers in the same station.
Generally, lockers are well signposted in every station, and in some stations like Shinjuku, there is a Suica Coin Locker Search terminal that can help you find the nearest available locker.
How to use a coin locker in Japan
There are different types of lockers available, such as key-type lockers and touchscreen-type lockers. The key-type lockers require a payment of 100 yen, and the key has a number and location written on it. You just need to turn the key to lock and unlock the locker.
The touchscreen-type lockers work with a touchscreen, and you can pay by cash and get a PIN code with your receipt or access the locker by card if you make payment by Suica or PASMO.
How to pay
Coin lockers can be paid for with coins or by using Suica or PASMO, which are more advanced payment options.
Approximate prices and how long bags can be stored
The fees for coin lockers can vary depending on the place, but generally, for one day, a small locker costs 300-400 yen, a medium locker costs 400-500 yen, and a large locker costs 600-800 yen. You can keep the locker for a maximum of three days in most places, so keep that in mind if you want to leave your luggage for a while.
If you can't find a locker or need somewhere to store your bags for a few days, you can try third-party luggage services such as ecbo cloak. This website connects people who want to drop off their luggage with shops, cafes, etc., that are willing to keep luggage for a fee.
Tip on temporary luggage storage storage
Most hotels and hostels are willing to store luggage for travelers, but the availability of this service may vary depending on the location and the amount of available storage space.
However, many hotels should be able to accommodate guests by allowing them to store their luggage before check-in or after check-out. In some cases, hotels may even be willing to hold onto luggage for several days after the guest has checked out, but this will vary depending on the specific hotel's policies.
Sending your bags: Luggage delivery in Japan
To/From the airport
When you arrive at an airport in Japan, you can find a delivery counter for luggage where you can arrange for your luggage to be taken to your hotel for a fee. This is available at all major airports and some minor ones as well. The fee typically ranges from 1,000 to 4,000 yen.
Narita Airport (NRT)
At Narita Airport (NRT), you can collect your luggage from the GPA delivery service counter on the international arrival floor (1st Floor) in Terminal 2 or the ABC delivery service counter on the international departure floor (3rd Floor) in Terminal 2. To send your luggage to your hotel, you can use various delivery service companies scattered around the terminals such as KTC, Yamato, and JAL.
Haneda Airport (HND)
Similarly, at Haneda Airport (HND), you can collect your luggage from one of two service desks on the 3rd floor. To arrange for your luggage to be delivered to your hotel, you can use a service desk on the 2nd floor.
Kansai International Airport (KIX)
When traveling through Kansai International Airport, you can send your luggage from the counters located at the southern and northern ends of Terminal 1's International Arrivals. JAL ABC, Kansai Airport Baggage Service, and LAWSON offer these services.
Major hotels and business hotels usually offer suitcase delivery service to your next hotel. To arrange this service, you can inquire at the reception or with the concierge. It's advisable to inform your next hotel in advance about the luggage delivery. Prices will vary based on luggage size, destination, and delivery speed (regular or express).
Between cities - Using takuhaibin
There are several options available for arranging luggage transportation outside of hotels. Hands-free travel service counters can be found in tourist information centers, department stores, and stations.
Additionally, Yamato Transport offers a service called Takuhaibin which can transport anything, including furniture. You can arrange this service at convenience stores or other shops with a Takuhaibin sign.
The cost for delivering a large suitcase weighing less than 25 kg from Tokyo to Kyoto is only 1900 yen and just 3900 yen to deliver from Tokyo to Okinawa. This service is affordable and can help alleviate the stress of carrying heavy luggage while traveling.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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