Coin Locker, Key to Easy Travelling in Japan

One day, you go travelling to one place.

You know that you have to spend every minute well because this is a short trip and you never know when you’ll be able to come again to this place. Alas, you arrive at this city too early because hotel check-in only available from 2 pm. Such a waste of time for sitting and waiting, while getting around the city is impossible too because of those luggages that you bring. Or, you actually signing in for hotel in city A, but on the way you want to visit smaller town B too which is quite small so can be visited on quarter of day without staying, letalone not so many lodging on the small town. But how to do it with all of those luggages that you must bring with you wherever you go??? Very annoying, right? Makes you dizzy when thinking about it.

Well, Japan offer solution for this problem.

Coin lockers is probably one of Japan system (or culture) that i love the most when travelling. It is a locker, which come in various size, that you can rent for certain period of time. It can be found in and around the transportation mass system such as railway stations, bus terminals, airports, also in underground passages. In big city like Tokyo, Japan also offer luggage keeping station on sightseeing areas and busy streets, a bit different than coin locker, but have the same function: to make it easier for you to be mobile from one place to another. The system is indeed very helpful.

Locker Size

Their size a bit varied, but mostly around this standard (source).
Size in height x width x depth.
Small – 35cm x 34cm x 57cm  
– most common size, found a lot at all stations
– suitable for totes, small bags, and backpacks
Medium – 57cm x 34cm x 57cm 
– moderate numbers, mostly found at major stations only
– suitable for luggage bags
Large – 117cm x 34cm x 57cm  
– small numbers, mostly found at major stations only
– suitable for bigger suitcase
Xtra Large – 115.3 cm × 35.5 cm × 57.5 cm
– small numbers, mostly found at major stations only
– fit to 2 big suitcase

Locker Type

1. Key-type locker

This is particularly easy to use and perfect for every tourist. It only accept cash payment using 100 yen coins, no card. Though their availability can’t be checked online via locker search engine, they have higher chance of empty state rather than the other type. Recommended for tourist who don’t have Japan transportation card (IC card), such as Suica, Pasmo, Kitaca, etc.

This is not my picture. Here’s the Source

How to Store Luggage
1. Find locker with key in the keyhole. Store luggage and close the door.
2. Insert coins as the display shows (in form of 100 yen coins!)
3. Shut the door. Turn the key to the left and pull it out.
How to Pick-up
1. Check the number of the locker according to your key number.
2. Turn the key to the right to open.
When Exceeding Time
1. Check the number of the locker according to your key number.
2. Insert as many 100 yen coins as needed to pay the extra charge.
3. Turn the key to the right to open.

2. Touchscreen-type

This type of locker is quite confusing for 1st time user. At least, that what happened to us! Seeing too many Japan alphabets can make you very dizzy, believe me! lol

If you experience the same thing, please take a deep breath…

Take a look closely, some buttons actually have English instructions, though some words do not… T_T But, ignore that! The most important thing must have translated. If not, then maybe it’s not so important, lol.

This type of locker accept payment either by Cash or Japan transportation card (IC card). Since where i’m going to is Hokkaido, the valid card is Kitaca. It’s equal with Suica, Pasmo, etc, just different area. Getting confused here? Well… Japan has different valid card for different region. You must choose the card according to which region you’re travelling to. Here’s more information about IC Cards.

Back to the locker, now it’s clear why so much Kitaca word on the machine, right? 🙂 It is said that Touchscreen-type locker can be checked via internet and apps for its availability. We don’t check it though, because we just happen to rent it on the spot. Beware that this type of locker quite popular, so they’re quickly full.

How to Store Luggage
1. Press button Checking (left side on my pic above). Screen will ask you to put your luggages into an empty locker.
2. Number of empty lockers will be displayed on the screen, choose which one you’d like to use.
3. Close the locker’s door and hold it shut until a lamp begins to flash.
4. The screen will give option on how to pay: Cash or IC card.
5(a). If you pay with Cash, you’ll receive a receipt with PIN code printed on it. Keep it. Better to have copy of PIN by noting or taking pic of it by phone.
5(b). If you use IC card, simply touch the reader and take the receipt once it has been printed.

※The location of the locker and contact information of the responsible company are printed on the receipts of both cash and IC card payments, so make sure to keep them!

How to Pick-Up
1. Press the button Taking Out (right side on my pic above).
2. Select either Cash or IC card on screen, according to what you’ve already choose when you put the luggage earlier.
3(a). If you paid with Cash, enter PIN code on receipt by typing on screen.
3(b). If you paid with IC card, touch the card reader.
4. The locker will open automatically and you can pick up your luggage.

This is not my picture. Here’s the Source

When Exceeding Time
・using Cash (PIN Code): Insert extra charge displayed on screen after entering your PIN code.
・IC Card: Extra charge is automatically deducted from your IC card when touched to card reader.

Locker Fee

The fare of coin lockers is charged per 12 hours. The price on Otaru station is 400 to 700 Yen. Maybe a little bit different on another area, but won’t be too much. Beware, lockers are emptied by station staff after 3 days. Your luggage will be picked up by the managing company and moved to their storage. You can still pick it until 1 month, but through certain process. Better take the easy route, huh?

Coin locker that we used at Otaru railway station

Let’s Go!

So, after using this facilities, we can freely getting around Otaru without having to stay in the city!

At night, we took JR Train to move to New Chitose Airport, preparing for early morning flight to go back home. Have you read our story on trying to stay at airport, then move to authentic Japanese onsen?
Read it on: Staying Overnight at Japanese Onsen 

See you then!

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