One thing you’ll notice while you are travelling through Japan is that the Japanese never seem to have any luggage. You’ll meet Japanese people travelling all over Japan by train, but they’re not schlepping around large suitcases through train stations, up and down stairs and through train car aisles. No, the Japanese are too smart for this.
Instead, they send their luggage ahead with a baggage courier service. These services are extremely safe and efficient. The most popular service is Takkyubin offered by the Yamato Transport company and Pelican from Nittsu (Nippon Express). For a small fee, they will transfer your bags from, say, the airport to your hotel, or from your hotel in Tokyo to your hotel in Kyoto. You can send your baggage to any address inside Japan. Unless you are travelling a great distance, such as from Hokkaido to Kyushu, these couriers offer next day service. A suitcase from Tokyo to Osaka would cost approximately 1,900 yen and arrive the next day.
With no luggage to worry about, taking public transportation in Japan suddenly becomes much more convenient. It also means that you do not have to stop and find a locker to store your things while you go off to explore some sights while en route to your destination.
Then, when you are ready to leave Japan, you can send your luggage from your hotel to the airport the day before. When you arrive at the airport departures section, your bag will be there waiting for you. Simply walk it over to the check-in counter at the airline and you’re finished!
If for whatever reason, you should still have to muscle your luggage through Japan’s busy train stations, remember that wherever there are stairs, there is either an escalator or a lift nearby. Look around before you drag that ball and chain up that flight of stairs!
In the airport, the courier service counters can be found at the Arrivals Hall. Just take your trolley over to the desk and tell them you’d like to send your luggage. They’ll be happy to take it off your hands.
All hotel reception desks as well as convenience stores can arrange luggage transport for you. If you are attending a conference, the venue will have a courier set up a temporary booth so that you can send your luggage from the conference venue. This is great for when you have extra luggage for presentations.
Skis, snowboards, golf equipment and surfboards can also be sent by courier.
Amy Chavez is a columnist for The Japan Times. Visit her website at http://www.moooobar.com.