Q: How does luggage transfer service work?
A: We use a wonderful luggage transfer service by a Japanese courier company where we can send large suitcases to our next destination so that we do not have to carry them with us during train travel. With this service the luggage will arrive our destination on the following day (transported by road). For example, if you leave your luggage with the hotel concierge in the morning, it travels overnight and arrives at our next destination on the following day. So, you need to keep personal items that you require for the evening and the next day in a separate overnight bag to travel with you. This great service means you can travel comfortably on the likes of the bullet train without having to man-handle luggage up and down station stairs. Please also note that there is no space for large luggage in most Japanese trains.
Some guests prefer to travel with a cabin sized carry-on roller bag rather than a suitcase and do not wish to utilise the luggage transfer service. However, whatever bag you choose, you should feel comfortable carrying it yourself when travelling by train.
Q: What kind of bag is best for an overnight bag?
A backpack (medium size with light & strong material) is recommended as an overnight bag. Some guests prefer a cabin sized carry-on roller bag as an overnight bag. This is fine, however, again you should feel comfortable carrying it yourself when travelling by train.
Illustration of luggage transfer service
(3 nights in Tokyo, 1 night in Hakone, 3 nights in Kyoto)
Image: sourced from global-yamato.com
1. Pack overnight bag and main luggage separately the night before check-out
The night before you check out the Tokyo hotel, pack an overnight bag with things you need for the next two days, and pack the rest in your suitcase.
2. Leave main luggage to send for Kyoto
Check out the hotel in the morning and leave your main luggage to be sent to the Kyoto hotel at the reception desk of the Tokyo hotel.
3. Travel to Hakone by train without heavy luggage
Transfer to Hakone by train with you overnight bag. As you do not have to carry heavy luggage with you, you can enjoy your train travel more comfortably.
4. Enjoy sightseeing
Leave your overnight bag in a private minivan and enjoy the sights in Hakone.
5. Check into hotel in Hakone
After sightseeing, check into the hotel in Hakone and stay overnight with the overnight bag.
6. Travel to Kyoto by train and see the sights
Check out the Hakone hotel and transfer to Kyoto by train with the overnight bag. Upon arriving in Kyoto, go to the hotel to drop off the overnight bag before the guided tour.
7. Main luggage arrive at hotel in Kyoto
Your main luggage will be waiting for you at your hotel in Kyoto after a day of sightseeing (by the hotel check-in time, around 3pm).
Q: What should I pack in my overnight bag?
A: You should pack any valuable items, medication, rain gear, as well as a change of clothes to cover the day you send your luggage plus the following day. This includes extra clothes (warm jacket, hat etc) and shoes depending on the next destination’s weather/itinerary. Keep in mind hotels will have basic amenities such as towels, toiletries and hair dryer, etc.
Q: Do I have to carry around my overnight bag during sightseeing or day activities?
A: No, you don’t need to carry around your overnight bag while sightseeing. We go to the hotel to drop off the overnight bags before the guided tour, or otherwise leave them in a private vehicle (if used in the itinerary), or use coin lockers at the train station (at guests’ expense, costs depending on size: 300-700 yen). Please be assured that our guides will always assist you with this.
Photo: sourced from jrailpass.com
Q: What time does my luggage arrive at the next hotel?
A: Your luggage always arrives before hotel check-in time (2 or 3 pm).
Q: Do I have to pay for the luggage transfer service? If so, how much does it cost?
A1: Small group tours: One suitcase per person/transfer is included in the tour price. We ask you to pay the fee directly at the sending hotel reception if you have any additional pieces.
A2: Private tours: The luggage transfer is optional. Therefore, the cost is not included in the tour price. Payment is to be made at the sending hotel in cash (around 2,000 yen per suitcase). We prepare pre-addressed label for your luggage and make arrangements with the hotels (and track your luggage) should you decide to use the service (this needs to be agreed before the final itinerary).
Responses to frequently asked questions, containing useful information, can also be found in FAQ.