For those who travel around Japan, from one city to another city, one of the problem is your (heavy) luggage. Sometimes you want to visit some places along the way before you reach the city where you going to stay over. It did happen to me, my itinerary was so crazy that I check out from Kobe, going to Ookunoshima Island along the way, then continue to Miyajima Island where we going to stay… not to mention the next day we check out from Miyajima Island, visit Hiroshima and continue journey to yet another cities for the next 5 days. Only after that we’re going around Tokyo for few days before heading back to Nagoya.
Sounds like super troublesome, going around dragging your luggage, and you just realize the train station in Japan not so many lift and escalator…
So how I settle that problem? Depend on your itinerary, you can choose to :
1. Put your luggage in coin locker (and collect them back before you continue to the next city)
2. Send your luggage to another city, and just bring few clothes in smaller bag for few days, until you reunite with your luggage.
For option 1, this is what you should do when you going to spend whole day in one city but not going to stay over there (but of course if you just check out from the hotel in that city, you might ask the hotel / hostel reception to keep your luggage until you going to continue to another city).
The coin locker in Japan usually have 3 different size (small, medium, large) and they have different price (300, 400, or 500 yen. Not always same rate everywhere but the price around there). They calculate the fee based on 1 calendar day, not 24 hours. Some of the coin locker using coins (so make sure you have cash to pay when you going to retrieve back your bags). Some modern locker I found in Nagoya Station, will print the card /voucher when you already put your belonging in available locker. When you want to collect, just go to the machine again, scan the voucher and you have to pay there (I forget whether they accept notes or only coins).
You can find the coin locker not only at the train stations, but also in tourist places like Nagoya Castle (not sure with other castles), Dotonbori – Osaka, Kawaguchiko, Ookunoshima Island (in Mihara Station), Shirakawa Go (very limited available, I admit I was super ‘kiasu’ by running ahead to the coin locker and ‘chope’ it for my group, while my group bring our bags to the coin locker), etc. —> yea we did coin-lockers-adventure, LOL. We just need to find 2 medium size locker or 1 big size locker to put all our bags.
NOTE : Some coin bank locker will be closed before midnight, make sure you check what time they going to close. Availability in popular place, like big train stations, will be difficult to find the bigger size locker. We failed to get one in Nagoya Station, although we already go around the stations and see through all the coin lockers (there are 2-3 coin lockers in different part of the station), all the luggage size coin locker already occupied 😦
For option 2, you can use the courier service from Ta-Q-Bin (http://www.kuronekoyamato.co.jp/en/personal/ta_q_bin/). They have good reputation in Japan and you can specify the date it will be delivered to the destination. You can find their offices, should be around big train stations, hotels, etc. Last time we ask the hotel receptionist (Osaka Bay Tower Hotel, I recommend them anyway 😀 ) to help arrange the shipment of our luggage to Tokyo. They will help to fill in the form (make sure you have the address of your destination), the date you want it to be delivered (for me it was for the next 5 days), and you have to pay around 2,000-3,000 yen per luggage (so for Osaka-Tokyo distance and 1 luggage – size 24″)
Anyway here to check the rate : http://www.kuronekoyamato.co.jp/en/send/ta_q_bin/
You will get cheaper price if you drop your luggage to their offices (not sure if the hotel charge more last time, we’re too tired to find where is the TAQBIN office around the hotel). BTW how to pronounce them is ‘ta-kyuu-bin’ 😀 or find the black cat logo.
Detailed information, please read here : http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2274.html