Using lockers in Japan


You know, I’ve never seen any culture travel (domestically) as much as the Japanese. In every other station – in the city or the suburbs – there will be hundreds of them commuting while pulling their luggages, in every size and color you can imagine. I don’t know where they’re headed to, but it seems like it’s a way of life.

I suppose this explains why there are hundreds of lockers for commuters in Shinjuku alone.

The lockers available in stations come in different sizes to suit your needs, are very hi-tech and  helpful when it comes to storing luggages. For example, I’d just check out of my hotel in the morning, but my flight’s at night. Now, how do I deal with my luggages?

I’ve three options:

  1. Carry the bags wherever I go
  2. Leave the bags at the hotel first
  3. Stash them in a locker

Let’s consider the options.

There’s no way I’d carry 20kg worth of luggage wherever I go! Leaving the bag at the hotel instead may be a good idea, but if the hotel I’m staying at is far away from the places that I’d intended to go on the day, returning to the hotel just for the luggage may be a hassle.


The best option? I’d drag my luggages to stations I deem accessible e.g. those linked to the places I want to go and with access to either Narita or Haneda airport – so that when I’m ready to leave for the airport, I can pick my luggage up and go. Often the case, I’d rely on lockers at the Shinjuku or Tokyo station.

When I first came to Tokyo, they’d used coin lockers with keys. But in recent years, the locker system has been automated!

All I needed to do to be able to travel light was:

  1. Find an empty locker
  2. Stuff all my bags in and shut the door
  3. Go to the autopay machine and select “Checking”
  4. Pay the required amount – from ¥300 to ¥800 (depending on the size of the lockers)
  5. And the machine will churn out a ticket with a pincode, stating my locker and pin number

And when I’m ready to take them out, I’d:

  1. Go to the autopay machine and select “Taking Out”
  2. Key in my pin number
  3. And the locker will automatically open its door!
Very practical and easy, don’t you think?

If you want to know where the lockers are at every station, don’t hesitate to ask the staff. And be early on weekends, because although there are many of them, they get snatched up really fast.

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  • Avatar
    April 12, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    cool. just like at YHA hostel in sydney.

  • Avatar
    December 29, 2015 at 10:25 AM

    Thank you for the info

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