Wondering what to do with all your essentials, not-so-essentials and the extra two suitcases that come with them while you explore Japan? Here are a few hacks for luggage storage in Tokyo.
Traveling is carefree, fun and exciting! You’re exploring, adventuring, without a care in the world! Er … apart from that 24kg suitcase full of your stuff that now feels like the combined weight of a dead mob cartel on the end of your arm. So you want to drop that dead-weight asap and get on with your exciting day—but how? If you’re staying in a hotel or hostel you can usually drop it off at the desk long before check-in, but things aren’t always that easy. Airbnb doesn’t have this luxury, nor do some hostels—and what if you’re not even staying here? Well, luckily we have all the best options for luggage storage in Tokyo, from stations to apps to the trusty locker.
If you’re only in Tokyo for a day or two and don’t need all your stuff, you can leave it at the airport or even have it delivered to your hotel for you, with some services offering same-day delivery.
Delivery: JAL offer same-day delivery and transportation of luggage to hotels (but only the Odaiba, Maihama and Urayasu areas) or Tokyo Station. It costs ¥1,000 per bag and they’re open from 8:30am – 8pm. You can actually have your luggage delivered anywhere in Japan at the JAL desk, which is great if you’re moving on from Tokyo pretty soon.
Storage: The airport luggage desk will keep items for up to two weeks, with daily charges varying depending on the size of the luggage. They start at ¥300 for a small item; average suitcases are generally ¥500. They’re open from 6am – 10:30pm, the maximum weight is 30kg and maximum size is 300cm (height, width and depth). Alternatively, JAL will store luggage for between ¥300–¥800 a day for up to 30 days, with the option for a time extension too.
Delivery: Luggage can be sent to and from the airport using a variety of providers (Yamato, JAL, ABC, KTC/Sagawa) to almost anywhere in Japan. If you’re only staying in Tokyo for the day before heading to another city, consider sending it on ahead. Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that bullet trains do not have much space for storage of large items and bringing large items is generally discouraged. You can send items to your hotel at most delivery desks including GPA, Yamato and QL Liner under the government-approved “Hands Free” project.
Storage: A variety of companies offer luggage storage, with a standard case costing just over ¥500 per day. You can also use the coin lockers which have a limit of eight days. Some are charged on a daily rate (so you pay for 24-hour blocks) but some have an hourly charge rate, meaning the first block is only six hours, and then changes to 24 hours after that. They also have extra-large lockers available for ¥1,000 per 24 hours, which can be used for skis and other over-sized baggage.
If you’ve made it this far with that giant suitcase and want to explore the city straight away, train stations have a few options to help you out.
Despite being banned for security reasons in many countries, Japan is in love with station lockers, and there will be some at pretty much every station you visit, even in the countryside. Stations in Tokyo often have great walls of them with multiple locations (in and outside the ticket gates), so you can usually find an empty one. They come in three sizes, small, medium and large and are usually ¥300, ¥500 and ¥800 per day respectively (give or take ¥100).
Station lockers are simple and convenient, with some operated with keys and some using an electronic ticket system. You can pay in cash and sometimes use IC cards for the electronic ones, which is handy. For the latter, English guidance is available, and often about five times louder than the Japanese, just so everyone knows you’re there. If you leave your items for longer than three days, the station staff will clear them, but you can retrieve your items and pay at the counters.
Bonus locker tips:
- If in a larger station, take a photo of where your lockers are, and note the nearest exit or shop, so you can easily find it—some places are like a maze. If you get really lost, you can ask a staff member and they may be able to use your key to identify the locker location (definitely haven’t had to do that before …).
- If you find a bank of lockers but they’re all full, have a look for the poster showing locations of other locker banks—you might have better luck elsewhere.
- If you open a locker and find someone else’s stuff inside—don’t panic, not a bomb, this happens weirdly often, just pop it over to the nearest desk or Lost and Found with the number of the locker it was in. Also, if you realize on a bus somewhere that you never quite locked your locker, don’t panic, chances are your stuff has been handed in safe and sound; you’ll just have to prove it’s yours with ID or a description of contents (definitely haven’t done that before either).
In-station service desks
If you can’t find a free locker or can’t fit your bags in it if you do, some larger stations have service desks which will store your luggage for you.
As an example, Tokyo Station has the JR East Travel Service Center. Near the Marunouchi North Exit, thanks to Yamato, you can store hand luggage for ¥600 per item, however, it must be collected on the same day. They also offer a porter service around the station and delivery services through Yamato to ship items around Japan. You can also visit the Sagawa Service Center near the Nihonbashi-Guchi Exit (more below).
Alternatively, if you’re in Yokohama, Yamato have three options: Sakuragicho Station, Shin-Yokohama Station and regular old Yokohama Station. All three offer temporary storage of luggage between 9am and 9pm for ¥500 per item so your sightseeing is a lot lighter.
Alternative services for luggage storage in Tokyo
If you don’t have a hotel to keep an eye on it or it’s too big for lockers, there are other services to keep your luggage safe across Tokyo.
The Voyagin office in Shibuya
Tour booking company Voyagin offer an easy option for luggage storage in Tokyo, right at their office near Shibuya Station. The rate is ¥500 per bag per day and you can make a booking online.
City-wide service desks
With three locations in Tokyo, Sagawa charge under ¥1,000 for a full day of storage per item. If you go to the Tokyo Service Center at the Nihonbash-guchi Exit of Tokyo Station or the Asakusa Center, baggage storage costs ¥800, but if you head to the Skytree Service Center it is only ¥500.
They will hold your luggage for up to five days and are open for regular day hours (Tokyo Station: 7am – 11pm, Asakusa: 9am – 7pm, Skytree: 9am – 9pm, last orders accepted one hour before closing). They have some limits on weight and size (200cm total dimension and 30kg weight), and allow you to access your baggage while it is being stored. They also offer delivery services to the airports from the three locations mentioned above and Shinjuku too. You can drop off before 11am and pick up after 4pm, for Haneda, or drop off by 6pm and collect after 12pm the following day for Narita. Prices range from ¥1,400 to ¥2,600 per item depending on size.
Yamato: Ginza Konyabashi
Unfortunately, Yamato only have one location in Tokyo aside from Haneda Airport and Tokyo Station, and it does not offer luggage storage. However, they do offer luggage transport, often on a same-day schedule depending on the location. So, if you’re in the Ginza area and want to send luggage on ahead, their multilingual office can still be helpful.
Apps: Ecbo saves the day
Since there’s an app for everything these days, luggage storage in Tokyo is no different. There is one main app for this, and it’s called Ecbo. Perfect for people using Airbnb (so no friendly hotel concierge to look after it for you), these services offer a more human version of lockers.
Ecbo Cloak Service was started by Shinichi Kudo, who previously interned at Uber Japan and saw a gap in the market for easy luggage storage in Tokyo. Focusing on cafes and guesthouses but also using the post office and locations in train stations, they offer a smart and easy service with map-location finders and additional services like wifi and charge points. You can select your best-suited spot depending on location or price, and see how many spaces they have available.
You need an account to use the service and can book in advance; payment is made via credit card when you leave. Prices are standardized at ¥300 per day for bags (under 45cm) and ¥600 per day for suitcases.
This article was first published in May, 2017. Last updated in August, 2018.
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