Storage for Hands-free Travel throughout Japan
Enjoy your days luggage free, empty-handed no matter where you go. When traveling we all deal with the question of where to store our luggage.
A young start-up in Japan provides a surprisingly simple answer by matching your bags with dead spaces at offices and cafes across Japan, from Hokkaido to Okinawa.
Whether you arrive from abroad in the morning and have nowhere to go, are on a city trip, or just want to spend your time hands-free for a while, these Japanese services have you covered.
Goodbye locker, hello ecbo cloak
Operating under the slogan “free your belongings,” the concept of the service is simple.
Nobody likes to carry around heavy luggage, but lockers are often full, don’t fit your belongings, or hard to find. To help, the service is partnering up with cafes, offices and any other businesses that have dead space where you can store your stuff.
With prices similar to lockers and an intuitive English website, ecbo cloak offers a convenient option on the go.
You need to register with your credit card information to be able to use ecbo cloak.
To find a storage facility, pick an area, enter check-in and check-out dates and the number and size of your luggage.
A map lets you choose the most convenient storage location. One click will give you opening hours, contact information, distance from station and reviews from other users.
Prices are ¥ 300 for small bags (less than 45cm length) and ¥ 600 for large bags per day. (Some storage facilities, especially at train stations may be ¥ 800 regardless of bag size.)
As a big plus for those who carry less common luggage, there are no weight and size limits for large items. So even sports gear or musical instruments etc. can be stored without problem.
Once you decided, make your reservation. You can cancel and change your reservation until the day before.
All storage spaces are inaccessible to the public and an insurance scheme is in place for luggage lost, damaged or stolen up to ¥ 200,000.
So you can store your PC and other devices without concern.
Things that you cannot store include cash, important documents and other valuables, hazardous, inflammable and fragile items, as well as food, pets and plants, liquids and smelly things. Any damage occurred to or through these things you will be liable yourself. You can find a complete list on ecbo’s website but the final call will be made by the staff.
On the day
When you arrive, just show the staff your reservation screen or email, they will then will take pictures of your luggage and the check-in will be complete.
Since all information will be displayed on your phone, you can use even non-English speaking facilities without worry.
For check-out, just show your screen again and the staff will hand you your luggage.
Some places offer same day reservations and overnight storage, please check on their ecbo profile for availability. If you need to be free of your luggage for a longer period of time, some places offer storage for up to 10 days.
Japan. Hands-free travel
“Hands-free travel” is another luggage storage service, offered by the Japan National Tourism Organization, and available at airports, as well as many train stations, info centers, hotels and shopping malls to make your travel more comfortable. To top it off they also offer shipping services to anywhere in Japan (carrier varies). So if you want your bags brought from the airport to your hotel room or to another city, this might be the service for you.
You can search for offices on the official website (listing business hours and contact information) or just look for their logo. Just head into the office, no reservation necessary, say hands-free travel and hand over your bags.
The service is available in English and most places will have multi-lingual staff. They will measure your bags and ask you to fill out a form where you can set pick up time and location. Same-day delivery is also available in some cases.
Prices are similar to lockers, starting from ¥ 600 per day for a suitcase. Deliveries also don’t break the bank. You can get your luggage delivered from Narita airport to Tokyo for around ¥1000-2000.
For shipment, some requirements have to be met. Items should not exceed the size of a typical suitcase suitable for airplane travel, weigh within 25-30kg, and have a total value of under ￥300,000. If you wish to ship larger or temperature sensitive items, please check in with the responsible carrier.
As a government-organized service, safety and security are a priority. Items are stored in safe spaces and a compensation system for lost and damaged items in place. The amount paid in case of any damages incurred depends on the carrier.
You cannot store valuables (cash, credit cards, etc.), pets and hazardous materials and important documents like your passport. Any damage occurred to or by these items is not insured.
Both services offer fair prices for less stress and more freedom on your trips throughout Japan.
Whether you keep your belongings close by, use the nearest locker or another storage service, have fun and safe travels!