Already went through Japan Railways information and other Internet resources but it's quite confusing. Anybody has first hand info about taking bikes as luggage on Japan trains? Particularly the long distance ones. Thanks!
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I'll give you second hand info but pretty reliable. My son did a 3-4 week trip last summer in Japan. At times, he had to use the train and also the bus. Both require the bike to be disassembled and put into a plastic bag. It was extremely frustrating for him as they did not sell the bags at the station always. The other things were they are VERY law-abiding, i.e. if it says 20kph (12mph), they literally drive 20kph so you keep up with traffic in residential areas, for better and worse. Also, it is socially not acceptable to say "No". Usually it was "that is under consideration". Basically, it took him 2 weeks that only YES meant yes, otherwise assume it is no. This was learned after spending 1/2 a day trying to get onto a train without a bag.
Hope this helps somewhat. Best, John
you have to buy a rinko bag
there is different size
be careful in shinkensen the luggage storage isn't very big
avoid WE and holidays
if you take a reservation ak for the last place near the end of car
look at the pictures (sorry it is in french)
you must have 2 lugages only
max 30kg and L+H+P < 250 cm
Currently cycling in Japan. You must have your bike in a bag, doesn’t have to be an expensive Rinko bag, can be a rain cover bag bought from Homac (shop in all big Japanese cities) costing 500yen. For my partners bike we are just wrapping it In the lightweight tarpaulin we are carrying and that’s been fine too.
Weve taken about 5 trains now and just taken front wheel off and taped it to the bike and had no problems. Great news is you don’t pay extra to take your bike.
Usually back of the train is best.
however I found the rinko bag a good investissement (Weight / size)
It is usefull in other country ex train or bus in france
A Rinko bag is definitely going to last longer for sure.
Thanks all for the great responses and information. How about specifically the high speed trains? We're actually planning to travel from Tokyo to Hokkaido and we're considering the train instead of a flight. We'll have bike bags with us, would the high speed trains be more restrictive than other trains for taking the bikes as luggage or do all trains work just the same?
more restrictive but lest place for luggage
if you have time ferry options is nice
We just got a high speed train from Osaka to Tokyo with no problems, there was space on the last carriage.
When will you be in Hokkaido, we have bearspray to give someone for free if you want! Some say it’s overkill but we were happy to be carrying it.
I'll reiterate what others have said.
If booking a ticket, get a seat at the end of the train. Buy a cheap rinko bag. I used the Montbell one (and actually used it for flying my bike home too). Before I bought the bag, I was simply using a blue tarp folded and pinned neatly around my bike. Not the most attractive but it did the job.
I think the best general rule in Japan is "don't inconvenience other people". So in terms of a bike, it's messy and therefore needs to be covered in a train to prevent dirtying the train or other passengers. And... it's large, bulky, and takes up space where people could be sitting/standing, thus going to the end carriage and being ready to get on the train quickly to minimise this is necessary.
Good info, thanks everybody who contributed. We plan to travel to Hokkaido in Aug 10th. Thanks also for the bear spray offer, we don't plan to carry any, I'm quite positive it's not strictly needed.