For travelers planning to visit Japan, coin lockers are highly recommended by everyone because they make travel easier. In the hustle and bustle of Japan, coin lockers are one of the best solutions for hands-free travel. It’s not a surprise that everyone wants to know everything about them before arriving in Japan, like “Are there lockers in every station?”, “How long can I use them?” or “How much is the locker fee?”. This is particularly important if you travel with large luggage. I was confronted with these questions when I was planning my trip, so let me help you with some useful information.
All major train stations in Japan, and most minor stations, have coin lockers available to use. Coin lockers are a part of daily life in Japan, and they can be found also on bus terminals, shopping centers or department stores, some convenience stores and tourist attractions, and even on city streets.
So, yes, coin lockers are found pretty much everywhere, especially in urban areas and near popular tourist attractions. Now that you know that lockers are almost everywhere in Japan, let’s take a look at all the questions that might cross your mind when planning to use coin lockers during your trip.
What Size Are Coin Lockers at Japan Train Stations?
Coin locker sizes vary according to the station, but usually have 3 or 4 sizes: Small (for handbags, backpacks, and small bags), Medium (for larger backpacks and small suitcases), Large (for larger suitcases or bulkier items), and Extra-large (for oversized luggage or multiple bags).
The exact dimensions of each locker also vary, but I found that older lockers usually have these dimensions:
|Height in cm||20 to 40||55||84||103|
|Width in cm||34||34||34||34|
|Depth in cm||57||57||57||57|
Recent lockers, however, seem to be bigger to accommodate tourists’ luggage and the increasing demand for luggage storage:
|Height in cm||31,5||50||85,5||104|
|Width in cm||34||34||34||34|
|Depth in cm||64,5||64,5||64,5||64,5|
You will likely find other dimensions depending on the station, but hopefully, this gives you a better idea of what to expect.
Keep in mind that extra-large lockers are not available everywhere, and you’ll be seeing mostly the first 3 sizes. Also, big lockers are rarer, and usually, they are fully used before 11 a.m., so if you really need one for large luggage, you have to get up early to give yourself the best chance of finding one available to use.
How Much is The Locker Fee in Japan?
Coin locker fees vary depending on the size of the locker. Typically, small lockers cost around 300 to 500 yen, medium lockers cost around 400 to 600 yen, large lockers cost around 500 to 800 yen, and extra-large lockers cost 800 yen or more. This is the cost per day.
Usually, you pay using cash, which is useful to get rid of the huge amount of coins you will be carrying in Japan, but it is also possible to pay using IC cards like Suica or Pasmo. If you don’t know yet what these cards are, feel free to read my articles on this subject:
Most lockers charge a daily fee, whether you use them the whole day or just a few hours, but don’t forget to claim your belongings before the day ends, or you will be charged an extra day. Usually, you will see the instructions and the hours of service explained near the locker.
For example, if you put your belongings at 10 a.m., you usually have to free the locker before midnight, or you will be charged an extra day.
If you prefer an hourly fee, there’s a useful service called To Locca. I found it extremely useful because it allows you to check the status of the lockers they use, and you can even reserve up to 5 lockers 30 days in advance.
How Long Can You Use Lockers in Japan?
As a general rule, coin lockers in Japan can be used for up to 3 days, but it is possible to find a few lockers that can be used for up to 4 days (these are rarer). Once the delay has expired, if the belongings are not recovered, the locker provider will remove them from the locker.
Even if most lockers will work almost the same way, specific rules and policies might vary from one location to another. Therefore, it’s recommended to look for posted instructions on how to use the locker you want. Read carefully the instructions to find the usage time because you don’t want to see your belongings removed from the locker. If you can, be in front of the locker before the time expires, so you can retrieve your belongings without stress.
How to Use Coin Lockers in Japan?
Coin lockers in Japan are easy to use. Choose an unused locker, prepare the coins for payment, open the locker, put your belongings inside, pay the required fee, and close the locker. Retrieve the key or the locker’s code to get your belongings after use.
Some lockers might use only coins for payment, and others might use only IC cards that you can buy online before going to Japan, or in Japan if they aren’t sold out. Coin-only lockers are usually the older ones, but you will mostly find lockers that accept both cash and IC cards for payment.
When using lockers, be careful because you can only close and open them once, otherwise, your money will be lost. Just make sure you prepare your belongings in advance and put inside the locker everything that needs to be stored, but don’t forget to remove things like your ID and payment methods.
Since there are a lot of lockers everywhere in train stations, I recommend taking a picture of the locker you used, as well as a picture of the surroundings to help you locate the locker easily when you come back.
If you’re stressed about using a locker for the first time, I leave you this small YouTube video, so you can have a better idea of what to expect.
How to Find Coin Lockers in Japan?
Usually, coin lockers are available in various locations, especially in train stations and transportation hubs. They are quite easy to find because they are generally huge, but finding coin lockers easily doesn’t mean that you will find one that’s not in use already.
Almost every train station has a map of the station showing all the points of interest, including coin-lockers. These maps are useful not only to find the lockers, but also to move around the station easily and avoid getting lost. I searched the information about the stations for you, so you just have to click on the links below for the desired area:
- For all the stations managed by JR East (like stations in the Tokyo area)
- For all the stations managed by JR Central (like Kyoto, Nagoya, Shin-Osaka…)
- For all the stations managed by Kintetsu Railway (like Kyoto, Osaka, Nara…)
There’s also a website called Coin Locker Navi that shows maps of the coin lockers’ locations in different areas, not only train stations. It also shows the lockers’ sizes and prices. The website is in Japanese, but you can use the automatic translation in browsers like Google Chrome which works pretty well.
Well, maps are cool, but they can’t tell you the status of the lockers. Luckily, there are a few tools that you can use to save you the hassle of looking everywhere for an unused locker.
Some major stations, like Tokyo for example, have interactive maps to show the current status of the lockers. This is useful to know exactly where you need to go to find an available locker.
If you prefer checking in advance before going to the station, Akilocker shows you the real-time status of lockers in several stations. I gathered for you the most common stations, so you just have to click the links below to check the information.
- For lockers in stations managed by Tokyo Metro
- For lockers in JR Kyoto Station
- For lockers in JR Osaka Station
- For lockers in JR Shin-Osaka Station
- For lockers in JR Nagoya Station
You can also use To Locca to book a locker in advance and avoid the hassle of looking for available lockers in a hurry. This is a good option for those who want to prepare everything in advance.
What if You Can’t Find Available Lockers?
With all the tools and information I gave you, you should be able to find a locker when traveling around Japan, but if, for some reason, you didn’t manage to use a locker, there is another service you can use: luggage storage services.
Several companies provide this kind of service, and you will likely find counters in several train stations.
I recommend using Ecbo Cloak website, which is very efficient for finding all the places that can store your luggage in the area you chose. With a simple search, you get a list of all the places that can store the number of luggage you selected for a specific date and time. It couldn’t be easier.
I hope that now you have all the information needed to travel easily and hands-free in Japan.
Have a nice trip!