When you travel in Japan, you may visit a lot of places. You will probably travel by train since it’s the major transportation system in Japan. If you are just stay in a few cities, you may want to leave the suite case in the main hotel and travel with small bags to other areas.
JR announced new Shinkansen, or the bullet train, baggage rule. You can bring in medium size suite cases and leave them on over head luggage space or in front of you. However, if you want to bring in big size luggage with total size of height, length, and width is over 160cm, you need to book a seat with luggage space in Tokaido Sanyo Shinkansen, which go thorough Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima, Hakata, and more.
The luggage space is limited so I suggest you travel with small bag. Also you may want to think about following options.
Baggage delivery services
In Japan, there are good and reliable baggage transfer services like Kuroneno-Yamato (Black Cat), JP(Japan Post), and Sagawa Express. You can send the baggage from a hotel to a hotel. The front desk or bell desk usually deal with the service. It only takes one day usually except for remote islands ( Japan consists of islands though). You can also find those delivery service agents in airports and convenience stores, major train stations, and major tourist areas. However, one problem is you need to fill in a form in Japanese or Roman Characters so that Japanese drivers understand. So it’s better to be done in a hotel with their help. They may be able to accept your luggage even if you are not a staying guest.
If you are stay in an apartment and cannot find any hotels that can accept your baggage, you may want to reserve a pick up service in advance online. Or drop by an delivery agency nearby in advance and see if they have English speaking agents.
Leave the suite case in a main hotel and so excursions
Another option is you may want to choose one hotel as a base of your trip and do some excursions. For example, after staying in a hotel in Tokyo for a couple of days, you could go to a few day excursions to Kyoto. Then, you could just bring small bags and leave big suitcase in Tokyo. Those hotels usually keep your luggage without any charge. It’s probably better to stay in the same hotel again in Tokyo when you return. Then, they have no reason to refuse it. Please note, some budget hotels has limited space for luggage, so it’s better to use bigger and better hotels at least with 3 stars for this plan.
If you want to bring your suite case with you to all over Japan, please pack compact. This is always the best solution. I know it’s difficult if you are fashion or/and shopping person. Just keep in mind that in rural area, you may have limited access to lifts.