Riding the bus in Japan be complicated for the first-time traveler since you have to take care of a lot of things: pushing the button to indicate your destination, finding your ticket number that you received when you got on, checking the bus fare table, pulling out a ton of coins and having the exact amount ready to pay the fare (you may have to convert your bill into coins at the fare box). You’re very busy. That’s why it's so common for many travelers to leave belongings on the bus, especially when the bus is crowded. The lost and found system varies from place to place in Japan and in this article, I tell you how to get your things back in Beppu based on my own experience. Here are some steps for you to report your issues:
Go back to the bus station
In Beppu, most of the buses will park at or pass by JR Beppu Station and Kanawa bus station. At JR Beppu Station, both red (Oita bus) and blue buses (Kamenoi bus) pass here but in Kanawa bus station, there are mostly blue buses.
Ask the right staff
After you get to the bus station, there are two options for you: you can either ask any bus driver there for help, or go directly to any tourist information center. I would recommend the second one where you could get support in English if you are not good at Japanese. (available in both stations).
Give a detailed description
The staff will contact the bus company. They require you to give them details including the bus number, the bus stops where you got on and off, the time (on the bus timetable) you got on, and a description of the lost items.
Wait for a response
If you report lost items on the same day, the bus company will track the bus location you took and inform you about when and where you can meet your bus to check whether your items are still available. (In my case, I just waited for the bus to come to JR Beppu Station and got my items).
If you realize right away that you forgot your items, you have a much greater chance to get them back. (if you are lucky enough that no one takes them). The process gets harder in the following days since you might have to go directly to the bus company to get your lost items back. And in the worse case, when the bus company cannot recover your lost items, you might have to work with the police to resolve the issue.
In case you cannot go to any of the bus stations, contact the bus company by phone. However, it is likely that staff of these bus companies can only support you in Japanese.