Sunday, March 28, 2010

Luggage on a Shinkansen Nozomi to Kyoto

During our train travel to Kyoto we%26#39;ll be wanting to bring a single roll on style piece of luggage as we will be there for a few days. Not a large one but one that can fit in an airplane overhead compartment (barely).

How does luggage work on the trains in Japan?

Luggage on a Shinkansen Nozomi to Kyoto

On regular local, commuter or express trains (non-Shinkansen), just have your luggage next to you is ok. It might be crowded at times but it will be manageable.

On Shinkansen, the last row behind each car has some extra space and you can leave any bags that don%26#39;t fit in the overhead there. Since most Japanese travel light on trains, this space is usually available.

Here%26#39;s a good picture:

Luggage on a Shinkansen Nozomi to Kyoto

If it fits in the overhead on a plane then you should be able to put it on the overhead shelf (sideways).

I once forgot a bag on the Shinkansen in the end space. The ticket agent called the train (travelling 160 something mph) and they had it off at the next stop. The agent let me on the next train with no reservation to retrieve it. Point is, your luggage will not only fit, it%26#39;s also safe.


The Japan Guide pic is useful but the space is not as big as it looks. I once had a bag wedged there and couldn%26#39;t get it out. One of my colleagues stopped the shinkansen door closing, delaying train departure by 90 seconds, causing klaxons to sound and JR employees to come running. After immediate trial by the Court of Delayed Trains, he was required to commit ritual suicide the next day! Seems harsh but it does keep the trains running on time.

LondonBob: what kind of bag did you have? I had a large roller bag that is definitely not thin and there was room to spare.

For those planning on riding the Shinkansen, holding the door open to enter or exit is a big deal. You have to treat it like you%26#39;re traveling by plane and plan accordingly on approach to the station.

I have travelled doing TV with eleven odd sized boxes and never had one wedge or had to disrupt service. The doors stay open as short as two minutes. This makes the schedule so reliable, along with a perfect safety record.


Common courtesy would be for the passenger to get ready to disembark when the train stops. Therefore, get your luggage near the door before the train gets to the station.

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