Translated by Hilary Keyes
Luggage-free Sightseeing! How To Use IC Card Coin Lockers
Written by Marina Maeda
Don't you just hate carrying all your heavy bags about when you're trying to go sightseeing? You should definitely make use of these conveniently located coin lockers.
Paying for Coin Lockers via IC Cards
While visiting Japan, you should consider all the benefits that come from using an IC card over paper train tickets. In Tokyo you can find the Suica or Pasmo cards, while in the Kansai region the ICOCA or PiTaPa IC cards are used. It doesn't matter which card you have as they all serve the same function and can be used across Japan once they have been charged. This is much more convenient than having to stop and buy tickets every time you want to go somewhere different.
Don't you just hate having to carry all your heavy luggage and purchases through busy sightseeing spots when you're traveling? If you do, then you should definitely make use of these conveniently located coin lockers.
When your arms are laden down with luggage and bags, it's hard to keep track of your purse or wallet, harder still to find change for ticket machines and almost impossible to walk comfortably, let alone enjoy your time at different attractions. It's perhaps one of the most frustrating experiences you can have when traveling. But, if you have an IC card, you just touch it to the panel on the ticket gate and you're on your way.
Now let's look at a more recent addition to the multiple functions these cards possess: the key to a coin locker.
One Touch & Done - Using IC Cards on Coin Lockers
If you see a bank of coin lockers in the station with an LCD screen like that shown in the picture above, those are IC card accessible coin lockers.
The lockers in the Osaka and Kyoto area tend to feature their own characters and designs, while those in Tokyo have different ones. As of 2015, you can use IC cards all across Japan regardless of where they were purchased originally, so don't worry if your card doesn't match the one painted on the machines.
A Step-by-Step Guide
1. Touch the display and press the button on the left, that has "荷物を入れる" or "Place items inside" on it.
2. Find an empty locker.
Each locker has an indicator lamp connected to it so the lockers that are not lit up are open lockers. In this case, locker number 0505 was open, so we shall put our bags there.
3. Once the items are inside, push the lever down.
Once all your items have been placed inside, close the door to the locker and (if the locker has a lever) push the lever down all the way. You will hear a loud click sound, which means that the locker is now locked.
4. Check the display again.
Now, check the LCD display and you will see that locker 0505 which we just placed our items in has turned pink. If you are sure you've got everything put away and are ready, press the "はい" or "yes" button in the lower right corner.
5. Pay for the locker with your IC card.
On the display, select whether you wish to pay for your locker in cash or with your IC card. If you decide to pay with the IC card, press the ICOCA button on the left.
6. Confirm your payment.
The locker service charge will be displayed, and once you have double-checked the information, put your IC card on the card reader panel, wait for the sound and/or the display to change. Now you have completed your locker rental. It's time to go out and enjoy your hassle-free sightseeing!
Getting Your Items Back
1. Touch the "荷物を取り出す" or "Remove items from locker" button on the right side of the display.
2. Touch the locker that your items are in. In our case, we also had items in 0506 that we would like to remove now.
3. In order to scan your card, touch it to the card reader.
4. The locker will then unlock and you may remove your items.
And you've done it. Thanks to these keyless coin lockers, you don't need to worry about having exact change or about losing the key while traveling about the city. And now that you know how to use them, they're quite convenient!
Be Careful When Using the Lockers
The majority of coin lockers are found within station buildings and as such are only accessible from first to last train (roughly from 5:00 to 24:30).
If you do not manage to return to the locker before the last train at that station, unfortunately you will have to wait until the next morning to retrieve your belongings. Please be very careful! As long as you keep the time in mind, these coin lockers will be your best friend while traveling.
Where to Find Coin Lockers in Osaka: JR Odekake Net (Japanese)