I decided to write this article after a rather interesting relationship I formed with a coin locker over the space of an hour. We had some ups and downs and as we said our goodbyes we had both matured over the experience and learned a lot. Here are some pointers on the use of coin lockers.
Why you should use them
Coin lockers will save you from having to lug your bags around for the day in-between checking out of one hotel / hostel and into the next. It will enable you to do some sightseeing without the weight of your luggage annoying you and tainting your view of the city. Coin Lockers are secure and safe to use as train stations in Japan are all under video surveillance.
How to use them
1. Locate the lockers in a train station, generally they will have signs to point you in the right direction near the exits.
2. Choose the correct size of locker for your luggage that has a key in it.
There are three general sizes as follows: Small 35cm x 34cm x 57cm, Medium 57cm x 34cm x 57cm, and Large 117cm x 34cm x 57cm. Side note if you need a larger locker, you need to get to it early as these can be all occupied by 11am. Also if there are no large lockers left there are generally other places to store luggage around the station. Check out Sagawa Luggage storage in the Tokyo area.
3. Place your money in the locker in ¥100 coins, the amount can be found on the locker door.
4. Turn the key, remove it from the locker and put it somewhere safe so as not to lose it. Note the number of the locker if it is not printed on the key as this will save you valuable time later when trying to get your things out in a hurry to catch the train.
Once you open the door of the locker, the money inserted will be deposited through. I made the mistake of opening up the locker again without thinking it through to put my jacket in. I had to put more money in to lock it again.
The price of your locker is based on a midnight to midnight rate not a 24 hourly one. Therefore if you put your bags in at 10am one day you need to collect them before midnight that night or else you will be charged a higher rate. Sometimes this clicks over at 2am (as pictured) so check this on the signs at the lockers. If you do leave you belongings in the locker past this time you will need to insert more money before you can access your belongings. The amount due will show on the locker as you try to open it. Once again ¥100 coins must be used.
Generally, you can keep your items in a locker for up to three days. Check this before you leave the locker area. After the maximum time has passed station staff will take your belongings and there is no advertised way to get them back.
Lastly, do not lose the key, you will need to pay at least another ¥1000 if you do.