Travel Insurance for Japan

Travel insurance for Japan can bring peace of mind in case of trip cancellation, medical emergencies or unplanned events during your trip. It could save you both time and money if you get ill or have an accident requiring you to cancel your trip or return home early. Read more

Should I Get a Pocket Wi-Fi in Japan?

Today we are talking about whether you should get a pocket Wi-Fi in Japan.
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Luggage Free Travel Japan

Is Luggage Free Travel in Japan Possible?

Yes, luggage free travel in Japan is possible and is super convenient in certain situations.

What is Luggage Free Travel?

The system of shipping goods, including luggage, from door to door was first set up by the Yamato Transport company back in the 1970s. In Japanese it’s known as either Takuhaibin (宅配便), or Takkyuubin (宅急便), and it basically translates to express home delivery.

Image by Yamato Transport Co., Ltd.

Luggage free travel in Japan is an easy way to send your larger suitcases from hotel to hotel, hotel to airport, or airport to hotel. The service time is based on distance and the price is based on size and distance.

Delivery time ranges from same-day to 2 days and costs between $15 to $30 USD per bag.

How Do I Travel Luggage Free?

There are kiosks at all the international airports where you can drop off your luggage, fill out some paperwork, pay, and be on your way. If you drop your bags off before a certain time, and your hotel is within a specified delivery zone, you can get your bags that evening.

If you’re staying at a hotel, you can ask the concierge to send your bags to your next destination. They’ll measure your bags, fill out the paperwork and collect payment. It takes about a half hour to complete the process, so make sure you budget your time accordingly.

Photo by Tokumeigakarinoaoshima / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This is usually an overnight service, since most tourists travel long distances between hotels. That means you will need an overnight bag with your toiletries, pajamas, underwear, and a change of clothes for the following day.

Staying at an Airbnb adds a little bit of a challenge to this process. Since Airbnbs don’t have a concierge service, you will need to either locate a transport company’s service center or find a convenience store that provides the Takuhaibin service.

The main players in the travel luggage free game are Yamato Transport, Sagawa Express, and JTBCorp.

Is It Worth Traveling Luggage Free?

Not all the time.

I know, there are dozens of websites out there touting about how great it is and your bags are waiting for you at your next hotel after a day of sightseeing. While same-day deliveries may be possible for short distances, delivery is usually the next day.

Becki with Hotel Staff

Becki picking up luggage at hotel

When Should I Use This Service?

While this service isn’t a full proof solution, it is very convenient if you’re willing to go a night without your suitcase.

As a tour operator and a veteran Japan traveler, here are my suggestions of when to use this service.

Visiting Mt. Fuji – Most of the popular areas for viewing Mt. Fuji require multiple modes of transportation and are difficult to navigate with luggage.

Visiting Koyasan – Like Mt. Fuji, Koyasan is a journey full of packed trains, cable cars, and buses. As you can imagine, heaving large suitcases isn’t a pleasurable experience.

Staying at a Ryokan – Traditionally, these inns accommodated pilgrims and were setup to host guests for just one night. Most Japanese follow this tradition and only stay one night. So it’s not necessary to take a suitcase for just one night. Also, ryokan have traditional tatami flooring, and rolling or dragging large suitcases across them can cause significant damage.

Staying 2 or More Nights – If you don’t want to travel with your luggage to the next hotel, then this service will only work if you’re staying 2 or more nights. Remember, you more than likely won’t get your suitcase back until the following evening.

There are times that we use this service during our small group tours. And in all the years we’ve been running tours, it’s always been reliable. I don’t think it’s the ultimate solution to luggage free travel in Japan, but it does help.

A Train is a Train, Right?

The most common issue we come across with travelers visiting Japan on their own is not understanding the train system. We’ve heard countless stories of people losing an entire day of sightseeing because they either missed a train or took the wrong one. The following is a story of a couple we met at our Tokyo hotel.
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WiFi Internet Access in Japan: A Work in Progress

Even though it’s one of the world’s most developed countries, free WiFi internet access in Japan is still very much a work in progress. They have a great internet infrastructure for people that live there, but as a visitor your options can seem limited.  Read more

How Much to Budget for Your Trip to Japan

Knowing how much to budget for your trip to Japan can be challenging if you don’t know anything about the country. Most people I run into ask if Japan is expensive, and they are always surprised by my answer. Read more

How to Use a Japanese Toilet Seat

I can guarantee that you will encounter a high tech, futuristic Japanese toilet seat on your trip to Japan. Don’t panic when you see it because I’m going to explain what the buttons are and what they do. Read more

Tips for Packing Light

When packing for your trip to Japan, it is very important to follow these tips for packing light. Packing light doesn’t just refer to weight, it also means keeping the number of bags to a minimum. Read more