One of the queries we receive most from our readers is what to do with luggage during your trip through Japan. Whether backpack or suitcase, sometimes we do not know very well how to avoid stress. And there are many occasions in which having to go with luggage is cumbersome: in public transport, while we make time until we can enter our airbnb or while we explore another area of the country.
Since there are lockers everywhere in Japan, we immediately think of them as an option. However, although it is true that they are everywhere, the vast majority are small or medium and in them there is no room for 20 kilos (sometimes a handbag does not fit, if it is rigid), so it is You need to look for other options.
In this post we tell you about our experience and we give you ideas and tips to avoid stressing your luggage around Japan. There are several options for all tastes, needs and use cases, so cheer up with that planning!
Luggage on public transport
If carrying a 20 kilos suitcase (or a backpack, it is the same) is already hard enough, if we also face what to do with it on public transport, the stress can become infinite. In short, it is not advisable to move in public transport with large suitcases, because there is no space to leave them, often there is also no room to maneuver with them without disturbing others and the discomfort can be great.
This is especially important if we are going to get on very busy metro or train lines and at rush hour. The crowds of people on lines like the Yamanote in Tokyo are well known, so imagine getting on a train with a big suitcase.
On the trains
In suburban and long-distance trains there is usually no space to leave your luggage. There are some exceptions, such as trains used to connect airports and nearby cities that do have spaces dedicated to suitcases.
Examples of trains with luggage space are the Narita Express that connects Narita Airport with Tokyo, the Haneda Monorail that connects Haneda Airport with Tokyo or the Haruka and Rapi: t that connect Kyoto and Osaka with Kansai Airport.
Luggage space on the Narita Express train Haruka train luggage space Trunk of the Rapit train to Kansai airport
Generally we will find the boot at the ends of each car and therefore we will not be so troubled, but in the vast majority of trains and shinkansen, there are no luggage.
In these cases, we only have the upper spaces, on the seats. The upper space of a shinkansen usually measures about 40 cm. tall and 50 cm. deep, so in it we can place hand luggage without any problem, but not large luggage.
To store our bags we will have to use the space between our legs and the front seat (something that, in case we are tall, is not too nice) or try to leave them behind the last row of seats, provided that it does not preclude the seat I can recline. It is important to emphasize this, because if our bags make it difficult for the seat to recline we will be forced to remove them from there. In addition, it is normally recommended to notify the reviewer that these are our bags, to avoid security problems.
On The Buses
In city buses there is no space to leave luggage and in many of them the space for wheelchairs / baby strollers is reduced (only a stroller or a baby chair fits). Because of this, it is not advisable to get on the bus with large suitcases, especially at rush hour or in cities like Kyoto, where buses always go full.
In long-haul buses or highway buses, however, we can store our luggage in the trunk (and usually accept one or two bags per passenger), so in this case we will have no problem. In addition, coach operators are responsible for raising and lowering the trunk, so that comfort is maximum.
In The Taxis
The boot of Japanese taxis are large enough to store two large suitcases and some other medium, so it is a good option to travel relatively short distances.
In addition, in case the trunk does not finish closing, the taxi drivers have permission to put a kind of rubber that prevents the trunk from opening while driving; Thus, there is usually no problem to load our bags from the train station, for example, to our hotel if we use the taxi.
Lockers in Japan
The ticket offices in Japan or koin rokkā (コ イ ン ロ ッ カ ー, from the English coin locker ) are everywhere and in them we can keep what we do not want to take with us during the day.
In the rest of the world they are not very frequent, but in Japan we can find lockers in many places, especially in train and subway stations, shopping centers and also in the street.
There are many types of ticket offices, from those of “all life”, in which you enter a coin, turn the keys and thus close the ticket office (and take the key with you), to more modern lockers, with explanatory television screens, in which there is no key and you can pay more comfortably with Suica or Pasmo cards.
So, we will simply have to look for an empty ticket office, that is, that it has a key or that it has the light in green, a sign that they are empty and follow the instructions: either add the necessary 100 yen coins, close and turn the key : Or follow the instructions on the central computer screen and pay with our contactless cards like Suica / Pasmo.
The price of the box office varies according to its size, but they usually cost between 300 and 800 yen. The vast majority of lockers are small (approx. 35x43x57cm) or medium size (approx. 57x43x57cm), although in some large stations we find large lockers, for suitcases, but honestly it is not usual.