Japan’s Takkyubin Luggage Delivery Service
I discovered Japan’s Takkyubin luggage delivery service a couple of years ago and never looked back after that. It is such a useful service and made travelling lighter.
Once I almost couldn’t get off the train on time when travelling from New Chitose Airport to my next destination. The train aisles were packed with tourists and their luggage. We had to play “Move the luggage slide game” to create a path to the train exit. Luckily, my friend, SY, and I were only travelling with our cabin bags as we had sent our big luggage ahead.
I used Takkyubin luggage delivery service a lot during my 3 months trip across Japan; sending my luggage ahead to a location that I was staying a week later. Without Takkyubin, that 3 months trip would have been rather tedious dragging my big luggage everywhere I went. When I travelled in Japan and saw other tourists struggling with big luggage at the train stations, I was like “Phew, I don’t have to do that anymore.”
- New luggage bag rules on JR Central, JR West and JY Kyushu Shinkansen
- What is Takkyubin?
- How long does Takkyubin luggage delivery take?
- How much does Takkyubin luggage delivery cost?
- Where to engage Takkyubin delivery service in Japan?
- Who are the Takkyubin service providers?
- What information is required for Takkyubin?
- Payment for Takkyubin
Sorry, not many photos in this post. Luggage and forms look the same no matter which angle the photos are taken. 🤷♀️
New luggage bag rules on JR Central, JR West and JR Kyushu Shinkansen
Do note that since 20 May 2020, JR Central, JR West and JR Kyushu have implemented new rules regarding bringing luggage bags onboard Shinkansen. Luggage bags up to a total size of 160cm (length+height+width in cm) can be brought onboard without prior reservations and without a fee. Oversize bags (bigger than 160cm in total size) require prior reservations of special luggage seats in order to be brought onboard for free. If no special luggage seats are reserved beforehand, oversize bags will be charged JPY1,000 per bag.
Do check the respective JR websites for updated information. Here are 2 articles about the new Shinkansen luggage rules as well as travelling with luggage in Japan. With this new rule, using Japan’s Takkyubin luggage delivery service is even more helpful.
I suggest to travel on trains with cabin size bags or hand luggage. There are overhead spaces where cabin size bags can fit easily. If you have bigger luggage, you’ll need to try to squeeze it into your leg space. Be mindful that you may end up with leg cramps. Blocking the aisle with your luggage is bad manners. With the new rule, the space behind the last row of seats will no longer be available for your use if someone else has reserved it.
What is Takkyubin?
宅急便 takkyubin means “shipping/fast delivery at home” in Japanese. Takkyubin is a delivery service in Japan, aiding with sending packages including luggage across Japan’s 47 Prefectures.
Residents in Japan like to send hometown produces to their family members staying in other parts of Japan or order produces from different parts of Japan. Thus, such Takkyubin delivery services are frequently used.
This Takkyubin delivery services was expanded to offer tourists an option to send their luggage from hotel to hotel. It greatly reduce the need to drag and push luggage on trains. Odd size large items such as Golf Bags and Skis can also be delivered.
Some of the Takkyubin service provider also offer to hold your luggage for up to 7 days before delivering to your indicated receiving location/hotel. When I was travelling 3 months across Japan, it worked very well for me as I needed to refresh my clothes to fit the changing weather. I was able to travel with a cabin size luggage and not drag the big luggage up trains and stairs. I didn’t have to worry where to stash the big luggage on the train as most do not have a dedicated luggage storage area.
How long does Takkyubin luggage delivery take?
Most of the time the earliest delivery is next day. However, it also depends on when you initiated the sending service. There is usually a cutoff time for next day delivery. If you missed that, it’ll go on to the next delivery timeline. This is especially so when engaging Takkyubin delivery services at hotels where luggage collection may only be once a day. Delivery timeline is also dependent on how far the receiving location is. For example, sending from Hokkaido to Okinawa needs at least 2 days and may take up to 3 days.
For sending luggage to the airports, the Takkyubin service providers usually require at least 3 days for delivery. That is, you must submit your luggage for delivery at least 3 days before your departure date. This is to ensure your luggage will reach the airport in time before your flight date.
What I usually do is send my luggage at least a day before I depart for the next city so that my luggage is there when I arrived. Or I’d send the luggage to the hotel that I’m staying a week later. Meanwhile, I’d travel with a cabin size luggage over the next few days as I make my way to where my luggage will be delivered.
Thus, plan when you’ll need to send your luggage to ensure you have your items when you need them.
How much does Takkyubin luggage delivery cost?
Japan’s Takkyubin luggage delivery rates range from around JPY1,000 up to JPY3,000 per piece. Rates are calculated based on the following:
- Which prefecture you’re sending from?
- Which prefecture you’re sending to?
- Total size of your luggage/package (Length + Height + Width in centimeters)
- Total weight less than 25kg (excess weight incurs additional charges)
- Add on service provider’s fee if any
To get the total size, add up the length, height and width of the package/luggage. For example, a package of 20cm height, 30cm length and 15cm width equals a total size of 65cm (20cm+30cm+15cm).
Most Takkyubin service providers have rates calculators online. Start by selecting the prefecture where you’re sending from and the prefecture where your luggage is to be delivered. This will generate the respective rates. You just need to check for the rate applicable to the total size of your luggage.
Do check the webpages of the Takkyubin service providers (see below for links) for their rates, additional charges and delivery timeline. They also have FAQ or support where you can ask questions.
Where to engage Takkyubin luggage delivery service in Japan?
Most hotels will assist with Takkyubin and collect payment on behalf of the Takkyubin service provider, making it a hassle-free experience for tourists. Some of these hotels even assist with filling in the Takkyubin delivery service forms.
There are some smaller hotels/inns/minshuku that are unable to assist with payment upfront luggage delivery. Reason is they do not assist to pass on the payment for the Takkyubin service on your behalf. This means the receiving location must make the payment in order to claim the luggage. Do note that hotels generally will not accept payment on delivery luggage.
If you’re staying at a holiday home or hostels, unlikely they will assist with Takkyubin delivery service or accept payment on collection luggage delivery either.
For such instances, look for Konbini (Convenient Stores) or the Takkyubin service provider’s collection centre. At the Konbini, check for the Takkyubin service provider’s sticker which is usually pasted right by the entrance to confirm the service is available.
Who are the Takkyubin service providers?
Yamato – Yamato is the inventor of TA-Q-BIN (Yamato’s terminology) luggage delivery service. This is the service provider that I used frequently and often seen at hotels and Konbini. They have service counters located in various places throughout Japan including at airports and train stations. Yamato offers a number of Hands Free Travel services to assist tourists, do check their website for more information. They offer some discounts when you bring the item to Yamato’s service counters, Round trip TA-Q-BIN and for cashless payment method.
Japan Post – Japan Post has now up their competition and are offering many purpose-specific Yu-Pack services including Airport Yu-Pack which delivers luggage to airports. I’ve encountered some hotels that worked with Japan Post to provide luggage delivery services. I have also used Japan Post at the airport to send luggage to a destination in another prefecture. There are many Japan Post around and you can find their services at Konbini too. Do note some of their services have additional charges. They also offer discounts when you bring the item to Japan Post service counters.
Sagawa – Sagawa is a competitor of Yamato. I’ve not seen or used their Takkyubin delivery services. Thus, am unable to provide any comments.
At major airports there are counters that provide same day delivery service to your hotel in the same area/prefecture. This is useful especially if you’re planning to visit some places before checking in at the hotel. Do note that the service is only available if you’re staying at the receiving hotel the same day.
Konbini (Convenience Stores) – they act as agents for the Takkyubin service providers, offering the service to collect your luggage and payments. Remember to check the front of Konbini for the Takkyubin service provider’s sticker to confirm delivery service is available.
What information is required for Takkyubin?
Most hotels will assist with completing the forms. If you’re using the service directly with the Takkyubin service provider or at the Konbini, you need to complete the form yourself. The form can be completed in English or Japanese.
You will need the following information handy to complete the form. Press firmly when writing as the form has 5-7 carbon copies.
- Receiving address, contact number and contact person
- The receiving address is the place that you will be staying. Do provide the hotel’s name and full address to ensure your luggage reaches you
- The contact number – best to put the hotel’s and your contact numbers
- The receiving contact person is yourself
- Sending address, contact number and contact person
- The receiving address is where you’re sending from. Most hotels or Konbini will indicate their address in this field
- The contact number is your contact number (some hotels may indicate their own number)
- The sending contact person is yourself (some hotels may indicate their own staff name)
- Select the delivery date and time slot
- For hotel, the delivery date should be your check in date and choose a time slot before you arrive
- If you’re sending the luggage to a holiday home where you’re staying and there is no host to receive the luggage, I suggest you chose the last time slot of the day (8pm-9pm). Ensure you’re back at the holiday home before the time to wait for the Takkyubin luggage delivery
- Do note that the delivery date cannot be more than 7 days from sending date
- Description of item
- Indicate what’s inside the luggage, for example clothes
Here’s a link to Yamato’s Waybill to have an idea how the Takkyubin delivery form looks and there’s also a guide on how to complete it.
Payment for Takkyubin
For tourists, upfront cash payment is required for Takkyubin luggage delivery service. Hotels and Konbini will only collect cash as they need to pass the payment to the Takkyubin service provider when they collect the luggage. As mentioned above, receiving hotels do not accept payment upon collection for luggage delivery. Thus, do have cash available when sending your luggage with Takkyubin.
Some Takkyubin service providers offer cashless payment for online bookings. Some offer discounts when you bring your item to their collection centres/agencies. Check their websites for details.
Important to keep copy of Takkyubin Delivery Form
Keep the copy of completed form and payment receipt till after you’ve received your luggage. The information is required to trace the luggage or claim from Takkyubin service providers in the event luggage is lost/damaged. All the Takkyubin service providers provide a basic amount for such claims. Check their website for details. The forms may be shredded and thrown away once you’ve collected your bags.
This is the best luggage packaging/protection that I’ve seen for a Takkyubin delivery of my luggage. Most of the time, there’s no wrapping, with just the delivery form (pasted on paper or in a plastic tag) attached.
- Sending bigger luggage is better value for money. Cabin size bags can sometimes cost almost as much as a big luggage. Cabin size bags are easier to take onboard a train, bus or flight.
- If you’re using the Takkyubin luggage delivery services at the Konbini, try to get the forms earlier. That way you can complete the form at your convenience on a proper table and don’t feel rushed. Do get extra forms just in case!
- Keep the receiving hotel name, address and contact information handy. I normally print them out in big fonts especially if I need to show the hotel receptionist. This helps to ensure the information is transcribe correctly.
Hopefully with Japan’s Takkyubin luggage delivery service, your future Japan travel will be light, easy and hands free.
Check Ling’s Travel Tips.