Transporting luggage in Japan

How to travel light ?


The major drawback of travel is of course luggage. But the good news with Japan is that you can travel light without a problem. In particular, door-to-door services are especially fast, secure and cheap. So don’t miss out and fill your suitcases with souvenirs!


Airport arrival and departure
After a long flight and suffering from jetlag, you may want to be relieved of your luggage to have your hands free during your first contact with the country.

To do so, you can send your cases directly to the place where you will be staying using the JAL ABC or Takkyubin (or Ta-Q-Bin) luggage delivery services. Both have counters at the airport. Takkyubin has the advantage of not requiring reservation and of delivering your baggage on the same day in some cases. The cost varies from 1,500 to 3,000 yen.

This service will be especially valuable for the return journey, as the number of cases increases as souvenirs are gathered. Similarly, you can collect your luggage at the delivery counter and go directly to check in with your airline. Note however, you have to send your luggage at least 2 days before your departure.


Takkyubin Delivery system in Japan
If you have decided to travel down from Tokyo to Kyoto by shinkansen but stopping for a few visits on the way, and you do not want to be loaded down with baggage, Takkyubin is an excellent solution.

For a very reasonable price, you can have your luggage delivered to your next accommodation the next day (with variations depending on the distance). For example from Tokyo, a suitcase can be delivered the next day in Kyoto for only 1900 yen, and in Kyushu for 2200 yen.

To have your luggage delivered, you can:

  • Make a request by telephone or by internet. 
  • Take your luggage to a 'convenience store' offering the Takkyubin delivery service (it will be indicated by a symbol of a black cat carrying it’s kitten at the store entrance). 
  • Take your luggage directly to the Kuroneko Yamato counter (a delivery company that provides Takkyubin services) in your neighbourhood. If you do not know where it is, lookout for a delivery employee in a yellow and green uniform and cap and ask them. For information, although Yamato remains the largest delivery company, there are others such as Sagawa Express or Nittsu
If you are staying in a hotel, of course, the staff will take care of all this for you.


Travelling with luggages
If you have to take public transport, finding room for your luggage is not always easy.

Although coaches have large boots (in Japan, luggage is never put on the roof and is always handled with great care), on trains, the space at the entrance of the coaches to store suitcases may seem very limited.

But be careful, however, if :

 - You are travelling on a weekend or a bank holiday. Transportation is sometimes so crowded, that you might not find enough space, not only for your luggage, but also for yourself.
Luggage in taxi in Japan
- You are taking a taxi. These are standard cars and the boot can contain 2 or 3 suitcases at the most. Large minivan type taxis are rare; if you are laded down, take several taxis.

- You are taking a bus or subway during rush hour (between 8 am and 9 am or between 6 pm and 8pm). As there is no space specifically designed for luggage, it may be a bit stressful for you and bothersome for others.

Moreover, even though they exist, it is not always easy to find lifts in the stations. If you are in Tokyo for example, the crowd and the stairs can be obstacles, you have to remain alert and look for the signs. Small rural stations are not always equipped with escalators. When travelling between cities, car rental could be a practical option, to avoid worries about luggage.

in shinkansen

Luggage in shinkansen
If you take the Shinkansen during the week, you will find room for your luggage as many passengers are people going to work and have no luggage.

Please note that the official rule on the  shinkansen allow you to have only two pieces of luggage ( weight max : 30 kg). The total height + width + depth of each item must be under 250cm.

As there is a special space behind the last row, do not hesitate to request a seat near the rear of the car when you make your seat reservation ( free with a Japan Rail Pass).

New : From May 2020, a seat reservation near the storage area will be required in the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu shinkansen lines if the dimensions of your luggage add up to more than 160 cm. 

New rules for luggages in shinkansen


Depositing your luggage in Japan
Airports, major train stations and even department stores offer left luggage services costing between 500 and 1,000 yen. You will also find many automatic left luggage lockers. There are different sizes and cost between 300 yen and 500 yen for one day (until midnight).

If you stay in one of our houses, unfortunately, we cannot keep your luggage before check-in or after checkout, as we do not have space to store it. If you do not want to be weighed down with suitcases, you can use the above mentioned large left luggage lockers (approximately 117cm x 43cm x 57cm) for 500 yen a day.

One last thing, if you have forgotten an item of luggage during your trip, for example on a train, do not despair, objects are rarely stolen and can often be retrieved at a lost property office. Do not hesitate to contact the transport company that you were traveling with.
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