Takkyubin - The amazing Japanese luggage forwarding service
Updated: Jul 2
Japan is a country of high manners and a politeness honed over the ages. A land of litter-free streets and crowds waiting patiently for the light to turn before crossing the street.
It is a country that takes pride in its work ethic and its painstaking eye for detail.
A place of unbelievably punctual trains and an eternal search for efficiency.
And so it should really be no surprise that when it comes to the art of travel, they have also got this circle squared. Specifically - how to handle the hassle of lugging around luggage?
In short - they don't. No luggage is being lugged. For this, there is Yamato Transport and their Takkyubin forwarding service: the Japanese insider secret to solving the travel luggage dilemma that surprisingly few foreigners have heard of.
Equally surprising is how effortless it is to use. No need to plan in advance or make a booking online or over the phone. Simply drop off your luggage at your hotel's front desk and ask to use the Takkyubin service, giving them the details of your next hotel. You will receive a tracking number, and hey presto! Within 24 hours your luggage turns up at your next destination, awaiting you in your room!
And while presumably not every single accommodation will offer this service, we found Takkyubin to be pretty ubiquitous during our travels - available everywhere from a boutique apartment in Kyoto to a hotel on an island and a ryokan high up in the Hakone mountains. You can use it at train stations, and apparently even at convenience stores (7-Eleven and the like).
Now, all this may seem like a very bespoke service, which surely must come at a price, and so is reserved for the more well-heeled.
But as it turns out, luggage forwarding with Takkyubin has pretty affordable prices too. At under £15 (~ Yen 1,900) for a standard large suitcase, and less for smaller and lighter cases, it won't break the bank.
And given how much satisfaction you will get going from place to place and doing all your sightseeing unencumbered, it is surely worth it.
We cannot tell you the amount of tourists we saw during our trip around Japan, struggling on and off public transport or through the grounds of the parks and shrines, weighed down by enormous bags and cases.
Not to mention the Shinkansen bullet trains which, while an amazingly comfortable way to travel, do not come with much associated luggage rack space. And now we know why! The Japanese have all shipped their suitcases on ahead. It is the poor uninformed visitors who are scrumming at the entrances to the carriages, trying to find space to squeeze in one more piece of luggage.
So do yourself a favour on your next jaunt around Japan. Do it like the locals do. Send your bags, boxes and suitcases to your next destination with Takkyubin, safe in the knowledge that Japanese efficiency will get it there on time and in tact, and save your efforts for wandering around taking in all that this amazing country has to offer.