Shinkansen: Reservations for oversized luggage

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The Shinkansen N700

New rule for large luggage in the Shinkansen

From May 2020, passengers traveling on the Tokaido,Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen with oversized luggage, total dimensions between 160cm - 250cm, will be required to reserve a special seat with that has an area for storing large and bulky luggage. 

As the number of tourists to Japan has increased significantly in recent years, the number of passengers with large suitcases on Shinkansen high-speed trains also increased. But Japanese people generally travel with small pieces of luggage that can be stored in the compartments above the seats, and spaces dedicated to bulky luggage are almost nonexistent on trains in Japan.

As a solution to this problem, from 20 May 2020, the railway company JR, manager of the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen line, has introduced new rules for passengers traveling with oversized luggage. The purpose of this new rule is to make train travel more enjoyable for everyone.

There are already some restrictions when traveling on a Shinkansen in Japan: you are allowed to take two pieces of luggage of 30 kg or less onto the trains, with total dimensions of 250 cm or less and with a maximum length of 200 cm. These rules are similar to those of the vast majority of airlines.

The difference since 20 May 2020 is that passengers who wish to board with so-called "oversized" baggage, whose total dimensions are between 160 and 250 centimeters, are required to reserve a seat in a dedicated area. These seats have space to store luggage and are located in the back rows of the cars near the doors.

  • However, this rule does not apply to strollers, sports equipment (such as a bicycle), or musical instruments, but you can nevertheless make a reservation for a trip with complete peace of mind.

  • How to reserve a seat? You can make this reservation at a ticket machine and on Smart EX when purchasing your ticket, or directly at a JR counter at a station.

  • Are you traveling with a Japan Rail Pass? You will still need to make a seat reservation, which remains at no additional cost.

  • Please note that passengers traveling with oversized baggage without a reservation will have to pay a fine of 1,000 yen (around $9 US).

  • For more information, visit the official JR website!

Don't want to travel with suitcases? Then try the Takkyubin service, a luggage delivery service, so that you can send on your belongings to your next destination hassle-free. 

How to calculate the size of your luggage?

To find out if your luggage requires a reservation, add the height, width, and depth of your suitcase. If the total is less than 160 cm, you can take it onto the train without making a reservation. However, if the total is between 160 cm and 250 cm, you will need to make a reservation at a JR reservation office.

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