Back in May, my husband and I went on our annual trip to our favorite country in the world, Japan. It was an amazing trip as usual, and this time we hit up Tokyo, Fuji, and Hakone. We purchased the Fuji-Hakone Pass, which gives you round-trip transportation from Tokyo and unlimited transportation within the Fuji and Hakone area, plus many discounts or free admissions to local attractions. I’ll review this pass in a future post.
Our itinerary was pretty tight since we planned to go from Tokyo to Fuji to Hakone all within one day. We planned to take the bus from Tokyo to Fuji Five Lakes and sightsee around the area before taking another bus down to Hakone, where we would do more sightseeing before finally checking into our hotel.
We had two carry-on rolling suitcases. The more I thought about it, the more dreadful dragging them around the whole day sounded. My original plan was to store the suitcases in lockers at Lake Kawaguchiko Station, but I didn’t know how plentiful the lockers were (although I read on Tripadvisor that people have just left their suitcases on top of the full lockers and because Japan is so safe, nobody had touched them by the end of the day) and it didn’t solve the problem of having to drag them around Hakone either.
Then I discovered the amazingness that is Yamato Transport and other transportation services that offer to transport luggage overnight for very affordable prices. Yamato is the largest door-to-door delivery company in Japan. Japanese people often use them on their own trips throughout Japan.
In a nutshell, you can send your luggage directly to your hotel, same day or overnight, for a flat fee per item based on size and distance. Click here for the details and rates. The maximum size is 160 cm length+width+height and the maximum weight is 25 kg. You can have the luggage picked up directly from your room, or you can drop off your luggage at one of their offices (for a discount!) or at a convenience store like 7-11, which are everywhere. You can even send your luggage straight to/from airports.After our 3rd night at Andaz Tokyo, we had accumulated enough things where it became a no-brainer to use the service rather than drag our luggage around and store it in lockers on our way to Hakone. I contacted the concierge, and they filled out the paperwork for me and asked me to have my bags ready to go by 6 pm that night. I packed our essentials for the night and for our day-trip in a backpack, which would be much easier to trek around with and use lockers for, and called the concierge when I was ready. The bellhop came to the room and picked up the luggage. I charged it to our hotel bill and it was Y1700 per suitcase (less than US $15). I felt that was really quite reasonable for overnight shipping of a bulky heavy suitcase! For comparison, lockers would’ve cost Y600 per suitcase of this size.
The next day, after a long and tiring day of sightseeing around the Fuji-Hakone area, we arrived at the Hyatt Regency in Hakone and checked in. The hotel staff informed us that the luggage was already in our suite, which felt pretty awesome.
I thought that would be the only time we would need the service on our trip, but the story doesn’t end there.
My husband accidentally left his wallet and charging cable in our room at Hakone and we didn’t realize it until our train arrived back in Tokyo and he couldn’t make a transfer through the gates since his Suica card was in his wallet. The staff at Hakone had emailed me as soon as the cleaning staff discovered it, but I didn’t happen to check my email during the train ride.
I called the hotel when I discovered the items missing, and they immediately arranged for overnight delivery to our next hotel, which was a capsule hotel (First Cabin Kyobashi, great hotel, by the way) since we were leaving for the airport the next day. They provided a tracking number, and the parcel arrived by noon to the front desk. Hyatt had packed the wallet and cable in bubble wrap and placed them in a little paper shopping bag. They charged it to my card on file, and it was Y700. That’s about US $6 for overnight shipping of a wallet that contained a bunch of cash…small price to pay!
In addition to the convenience, prices, and speeds, I was also impressed by the handling. We in America are used to delivery companies like UPS and Fedex throwing our parcels around without a care in the world, often causing damage to the boxes or contents inside. I didn’t feel like that was the case in Japan. Yamato Transport handled and delivered everything with care, no matter how small or big or heavy it was.
Hopefully this information helps you on your next trip to Japan!