Where can we stash our luggage while going around on day trips?
May 29, 2012 7:42 PM   Subscribe

TravelLogisticFilter: We're planning a trip to Japan in October and need help with the logistics of where to leave our luggage as we get around.

We're having a hard time coming up with where we can leave our luggage during the days. Most of our time is going to be in Kyoto, but we want to do an overnight in Hiroshima. The plan right now is to get to Hiroshima midday, stay overnight, see the Genbaku Dome, Miyajima, etc. and then get back on the Shinkansen to Kyoto. The problem, though, is that we'd check out of the hotel in the morning and then have to lug our bags all around Hiroshima. Paying for an extra night in a Kyoto hotel just to leave our bags there seems ridiculous (and pricey).

Does anyone have experience with this sort of thing? Can we check out of a hotel and then leave our luggage there for a day? Is it possible to drop our bags at the next hotel we're staying at and have them hold it for us for a night? Is there some other option I can't think of right now? (Bonus points: how would this work in other countries? I can't imagine doing it here in America, but then I've never tried...)

(And for what it's worth, our Japanese is pretty good. Not fluent, but we can get by just fine.)
posted by gchucky to Travel & Transportation around Japan (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Most hotels will let you leave bags with them. If you check out in the morning and come to collect your bags later, no problem. Most hotels will have someone who can speak English, especially since you are in a touristy area. Their English may not be fantastic, but you shouldn't have a problem.

Previously, there were lockers in train stations where you could store your bags for a fee. Many of those have been closed, especially around Tokyo. I'm not sure about Kyoto/Hiroshima, but leaving them at the hotel is easier.

I've also never had a problem leaving my bags at a hotel in major cities in the US, such as NY/LA/Honolulu. Most hotels should be fine with this.
posted by xmts at 7:59 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

xmts is right on. My experience with the lockers is that they tend to be smaller, better for day bags as opposed to full on luggage. I'd be shocked if your hotel couldn't accommodate the request. And if they can't they'll almost certainly be able to make a suggestion.

Are you in touch with your hotel via email? Last time I traveled to that part of the world, all my hotels were very responsive on email. You might be able to get the lay of the land in this department directly from them before you even leave.
posted by colin_l at 8:06 PM on May 29, 2012

We were in all those areas last year. Hotels were very kind and happy to hold our bags all day if need be after we had checked out. Additionally all the major JR stations have lockers (they can be hard to find! I seem to recall Hiroshima in particular was tucked away), of varying sizes that can be hired quite affordably.
posted by smoke at 8:13 PM on May 29, 2012

Hm, alright. What about overnight, though? Like, what if we want to leave all of our luggage in Kyoto and just take an overnight bag to Hiroshima? Do you think hotels would be accommodating of that?
posted by gchucky at 8:16 PM on May 29, 2012

In my experience: 1) Never underestimate the hospitality and generosity of the Japanese customer service experience.

2) I'm pretty sure you can rent overnight at train stations.
posted by smoke at 8:17 PM on May 29, 2012

I've asked hotels in Tokyo to hold bags for me for 3 days while I went to another city. I really don't think you'll have a problem with this. (I've also asked a hotel in Hong Kong to hold a bag for me for a week. I was on a month long business trip, with a week in the middle to Beijing. No problem at all for the hotel)

If you want me to check with the hotel in advance, memail me the name of your hotel. I can make a quick phone call or email to them.

I still recommend asking the hotel to hold your bags vs lockers at train stations. I remember the ones in Tokyo (incl Shinjuku/Shibuya/Yokohama) were removed back when I was in high school.
posted by xmts at 10:59 PM on May 29, 2012

I was in Kyoto and Hiroshima last May, and was able to rent storage lockers at the train station in Hiroshima for luggage. We had decently sized suitcases and did not have a problem fitting them in; there were several sizes of lockers. I am 95% sure you could rent them overnight if you wanted. Are you staying at the same hotel for both of the Kyoto trips? If so, I am sure they would hold it for you. Even if you aren't, I bet either hotel would still hold them for you, as everyone else said.
posted by min at 5:32 AM on May 30, 2012

Previously, there were lockers in train stations where you could store your bags for a fee. Many of those have been closed, especially around Tokyo.

Previously? I still see (and use) them. No longer ¥100, now the price is ¥300, ¥400 or ¥500 for the biggest. I have a little trouble maneuvering my big, soft back-pack into the smallest size; those with hard-sided luggage may have a little difficulty but I bet the jumbo-sized 'coin locker' will accommodate your luggage.
posted by Rash at 7:59 AM on May 30, 2012

Any hotel should allow you to leave luggage, but if you want to avoid hauling your suitcase between cities, you could use a Takkyubin service to get your luggage delivered to the next hotel ahead of you. Delivery is on the next day, which in your case could be an advantage.
posted by Gortuk at 8:41 AM on May 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Be aware, in Japan, most trains/public conveyances do not have room for luggage! Most folks in Japan use a service that takes their bags from the house to the destination! Especially within the country. Double check this with the Shin and any other regional transportation authorities.

As for Miyajima, excellent choice. The deer are pretty cool, the temple is beautiful. Every place has a sort of specialty sweet. Here it's cookies decorated with maple leaves. You can buy stuff to feed the deer as well, they do get a bit aggressive though.

Listen to the ferry announcement that says that Miyajima Island is the 3rd most beautiful island in Japan. (We're only slightly bragging.)

In Hiroshima, be sure to enjoy a meal in a department store. Lots of things going on in department stores. We saw a teddy bear exhibition, an ikibana show and "enjoyed" tea ceremony out of a celebrated potter's cups. Pick up a Hiroshima Carp Baseball shirt if you are so inclined.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:50 AM on May 30, 2012

I've stored luggage at a counter at Kyoto Station in the past, although this was before they built the station.

According to the Kyoto Station home page:

if your baggage is too big to put into a locker, at the left-luggage office (open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., located in basement floor one.). The left-luggage office can also deliver your baggage to your hotel for 750 yen per bag.

Kyoto Station is massive, so just saying it's in the basement is kind of ambiguous. Your best bet is to print off the webpage I linked to, highlight the passage I copied and pasted above, and go to the information desk in the main concourse of the station. They should be able to help you.

I'm not entirely sure hotels will be cool with storing your luggage for a few days, but you never know. As well, it can be a PIA to have to troop back to your previous hotel, and then back to whatever train station you are taking.

That's taking about 2 hours out of your day, plus connection time.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:31 PM on June 2, 2012

I've stored luggage at a counter at Kyoto Station in the past, although this was before they built the NEW station.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:31 PM on June 2, 2012

We also always use the courier option for our baggage - it makes total sense.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:32 PM on June 2, 2012

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