The good news is that there are hundreds of coin lockers at Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. The bad news is that with millions of people using the rail hub every day, it can be tough finding an empty locker. Fortunately, two new left luggage and courier service counters have recently opened at Shinjuku Station (see below).
Coin lockers at Shinjuku Station can be found throughout the enormous complex of the main JR Shinjuku Station as well as its satellite rail, subway and bus stations including the Odakyu and Keio railways. They are operated by various companies but the prices generally range from 100 to 800 yen depending on size; some are large enough to store golf bags. They can be operated either with coins or with Suica or Pasmo stored-value cards used on the Tokyo subway, rail and bus network.
Where to find lockers in Shinjuku Station
The easiest way to find coin lockers is looking for signs near the ticket gates; thee can either have the coin locker icon, or coin locker written in English or Japanese (コインロッカー; koin rokkaa).
Shinjuku Station has dozens of exits but the main ones for the JR part of the station are the East, West, South and New South exits (also labeled “gates”). You can find coin lockers both inside and outside the gates. Not every bank of lockers has large lockers but most have maps of the locker banks in the immediate area; unfortunately many of the maps are only in Japanese.
By far the biggest group of lockers at Shinjuku lies underground near the West Exit. From the ticket gates, go left until you see escalators or stairs heading down to the Odakyu Department Store food basement. Go down and turn left, and look for an exit into an underground corridor that’s full of hundreds of large, medium and small lockers.
If these lockers are full, you can try the East Exit next. There are banks of lockers by the taxis at street level along the Lumine Est Department Store wall, as well as inside the department store as you approach the ticket gates, and finally just past the ticket gates on the inside. Again, if you find a particular bank of lockers to be full, look for a map and try to determine your location (your position is indicated on Japanese maps with 現在地 (genzaichi) in red characters).
Another area to search for lockers is the South and New South exits. There are banks of coin lockers throughout the concourse running parallel to and inside the South Exit ticket gates; look for stairs or escalators leading down to more lockers in the basement. The New South Exit, which is across Koshukaido Street from the South Exit and adjacent to the new Shinjuku Basuta expressway bus terminal.
How to use Shinjuku Station lockers
Most coin lockers at Shinjuku Station have been upgraded to keyless operating systems. These can be distinguished by the red LED lights that are illuminated when a locker is being used; you’ll often see an entire bank of lockers completely lit up, meaning none is free. If you do see an empty locker, you have to insert your luggage, confirm the lights are flashing and then find the control panel in the middle of the bank, which consists of a touch panel screen and unit for inserting cash or coins as well as a stored-value card reader. Most control panels have instructions in English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. It will first ask you whether you are checking or taking out luggage.
If checking luggage and paying with cash, select “cash,” pay the fee by inserting the appropriate coins and receive the printed receipt, which bears the PIN you’ll need to open the locker later. When retrieving your bags, select “taking out” on the touchpanel display, then “Your PIN,” input the PIN and then take your luggage.
You can also use a Suica or Pasmo stored-value transit card to pay for the locker rental. It’s the same process as above, but you touch your card to the card reader to pay and to unlock the locker when you’re done.
Left luggage services at Shinjuku Station
Although many tourist information officials and station staff may tell you otherwise, there are rooms that will store your luggage without having to deal with coin lockers.
Sagawa Cloak & Delivery
This storage room is located in the Tokyo Tourist Information Center on the third floor of the Basuta Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal (open from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily) on the south side of Shinjuku Station. The luggage service is operated by Sagawa Express and can store each bag for 800 yen per day or deliver your luggage to your hotel, Tokyo Station or Narita or Haneda airports on the same day if checked in by 11 a.m.
Keio Nekonote Baggage Service
This storage room is also located on the south side of Shinjuku Station, under the station’s southwest corner and Lumine 1 Department Store. The room is underground (the closest aboveground exit is Exit 3 at Keio Line Shinjuku Station) right next to the Keio New Line subway ticket gates. Open from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, it will store baggage for 1,000 yen per item. Staff can also arrange to ship your luggage to your hotel or to Haneda Airport via Yamato Transport courier services.
Article by Tim Hornyak. All rights reserved.