Reservation Required For Large Suitcases On Selected Japan Shinkansen Bullet Trains Starting May 2020

14 Mar 2020
shinkansen luggage cover image 1

Reservation required for large luggage on Shinkansen

Starting May 2020, all passengers onboard selected Shinkansen trains will have to make reservations if they are travelling with large luggage. Failure to do so will result in a penalty fee of JPY1,000 (~ RM40).

Why is this reservation policy implemented?

Photo credits: Boaz Guttman on Flickr
In light of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in summer, the Japanese railway operators foresee a surging influx of tourists. This added reservation feature helps to prevent overcrowding of luggage space and ensures a safer journey amidst high volumes of passengers.

Which train lines will be affected?

Photo credits: Finbarr Fallon on Flickr
If you are planning to take any of the following Shinkansen routes, you will need to make a seat reservation in the near future:
  • Tokaido Shinkansen, which runs between Tokyo and Shin Osaka, and includes a Shinkansen stop in Kyoto
  • Sanyo Shinkansen, which runs from Shin Osaka to Hakata, Fukuoka, and includes stops in Himeji and Hiroshima
  • Kyushu Shinkansen, which runs from Hakata to Kagoshima Chuo

What is considered a ‘large luggage’?

A large luggage is defined as:
Length + Height + Width = 160cm – 250cm
For example, a carry-on baggage of 60cm x 45cm x 30cm requires no reservation as it is not within the measurement frame of 160cm – 250cm.
(60 + 45 + 50 = 135)
However, if your luggage is 80cm x 50cm x 40cm, you will then need to make a reservation as it is within the total measurement of a ‘large luggage’. (80 + 50 + 40 = 170).
Measuring devices will be available near the Shinkansen gates by then so that passengers can double-check if their luggage requires a reservation for luggage space.

How can I make a reservation for my large luggage?

Photo credits: S. Ken on Flickr
Reserving your Shinkansen bullet train ticket will automatically include reserved space for your large luggage. In other words, no extra steps are required.
As such, if you board the Shinkansen without reserving a bullet train seat along with a large suitcase, you will be penalised with a fine of JPY1,000 (~ RM40) in cash.
All Shinkansen seats do NOT come with extra-luggage space so it is best to make reservations as early as possible, preferably a month before your departure date.
Pre-book your Shinkansen ticket on Klook to avoid the hassle of fumbling for last-minute tickets. Simply flash your e-voucher to retrieve your Exchange Order and later head to any of the JR Ticket Office or bullet train ticket machines for your Shinkansen ticket redemption!

Where will my luggage be stored?

All large luggage will be contained at the last row of each carriage. It is projected that by the year 2023, some of the toilets and sinks on the Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen will be removed and turned into a storage space.