New Luggage Reservation Rules for the Shinkansen

Travel in Japan is largely associated with the Shinkansen, but as of 2020 there are new luggage regulations when traveling with oversized baggage that require a train reservation. Read up on the new regulations along with additional travel tips for your next trip to Japan!

The definition for larger baggage is in accordance with the following:

Luggage with a total height, width, and depth of 161 cm to 250 cm are considered oversized luggage and thus require prior notification and reservation before being brought onto the bullet train. In general, suitcases at a large enough level that require a check-in at the airport will fall under this category and need a reservation. At many stations, special baggage sizers are available to check if luggage requires a reservation or not.

Note that there are exceptions to this rule that do not require reservation prior to being brought onto the bullet train, even if they do measure between 161 cm to 250 cm in total dimensions. This includes sports equipment (such as bikes), musical instruments in cases, and baby strollers. However, if one wishes to use the oversized baggage area for any of these items, a reservation is required.

Luggage whose total dimensions exceed that of 250 cm are barred from being brought onto the Shinkansen at all. 

On most trains, these special reserved seats will be in the back of each respective train car, with space for their luggage behind that exists on the train's ground level. There are also established large luggage compartments available for reservation and use on many train cars as well. Travelers will have the option to choose between the two, depending on availability. 

Dimensions for luggage on the Shinkansen bullet train

Items NOT considered as oversized for the Shinkansen bullet train

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Check out the essential destinations in Japan with the Shinkansen bullet train!

Tokaido Shinkansen

JR Central


Shinkansen conductor and staff

@flickr/ David McKelvey

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