When getting around Japan, there is one issue that tourists will frequently encounter: how to deal with luggage. And it happens more than once during any visit, usually when moving between cities. For example, one morning I checked out of a hotel in Osaka and made my way to Kyoto. Hotel check-in was half a day away, so I stored my bags at a station near Gion and set about being a tourist for the day (shopping at Mina and an afternoon at Kamigamo-jinja).
All major train stations in Japan have coin lockers. In the cities, I’ve never been to a station (even the smaller suburban ones) that didn’t have coin lockers. There are of course exceptions, for example, the tiny train station at Narai-juku in the Kiso Valley doesn’t have coin lockers.
How to use a coin locker「コインロッカ」
Step 1: Find the coin lockers
If a station has coin lockers, it will be posted on a sign. In the photo above, the yellow sign hanging from the roof gave directions to these coin lockers.
Step 2: Choose an available locker
Coin lockers come in many sizes. I’ve stored very large 90 litre backpacker-style packs easily in these lockers, as well as hard-shell suitcases.
A locker is available if you can see a key hanging by the door.
Step 3: Put your bags in the coin locker
Open the door and place all your items in the coin locker. The locker won’t lock until you’ve paid the fee and taken the key out.
Step 4: Insert coins, lock and take the key
The fee for the locker is often found on the front of the locker, or near the key beside the door. To lock the door, insert ¥100 coins (most accept only ¥100 coins) to pay the fee. Prices generally range from ¥300 – ¥600. Turn the key to lock the door and remove the key.
- The key usually has a locker number on it so you can find your locker. The key also usually has a tag on it, I recommend you attach this somewhere safe (I always have a carabiner inside my day back where I attach the key).
- Take a photo of where the coin lockers are located. I took the photo in step 1 above to remind me of the location – the photo shows that the coin lockers are near exit 7 of the station.
View this photo’s location at Gion-Shijō Station on Google Maps.