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Last-day sightseeing gets less bothersome in Japan

Transporters offer new baggage delivery service to Narita Airport

An employee receives luggage at Sagawa Express' collection point.

TOKYO -- Two companies in Japan have teamed up to make it easier for foreign tourists to squeeze in a few more activities during their final day in the country.

Airport Transport Service, which operates Airport Limousine buses between Narita Airport and locations in and around Tokyo, and transport company Sagawa Express recently launched same-day luggage delivery to the airport. The new service lets travelers drop off their baggage at selected collection points, saving them the trouble of minding their belongings while making the most of their last day before heading to the airport.

Their "Premium Hands-Free Package" includes a ride to Narita Airport via the Airport Limousine bus as well as same-day luggage delivery. At 3,600 yen ($31.76), it is about 30% cheaper than purchasing the services separately. 

Tourists can deposit their luggage at Sagawa collection points located at Tokyo Station, Kaminarimon gate in Asakusa or Tokyo Skytree and later collect it at the airport between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. If they choose to take an Airport Limousine bus to Narita, they can board at any of the roughly 80 bus stops within the city, including those in the popular Shibuya and Shinjuku districts.

Airport Limousine buses will carry bags to Narita Airport while owners are sightseeing.

For example, tourists staying at hotels near Tokyo Station can check their suitcases at collection points there, then visit Ginza and Daiba. Afterwards, they can hop on an airport bus at Daiba.

The bus operator said there has been a lot of interest in the service and response has been good. With the number of foreign tourists to Japan continuing to grow, similar services are likely to appear.

Suitcases collected at Tokyo Station will be loaded onto Airport Limousine buses to reduce the burden on Sagawa, which has been struggling with a shortage of drivers.

Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is promoting this "hands-free travel" so that foreign tourists can enjoy themselves more. To develop similar services, the ministry will provide financial aid to businesses to help them establish necessary infrastructure and multilingual capabilities.

There are 164 government-approved "hands-free travel" counters across the country, including locations that only offer temporary storage. Travel agency H.I.S. has the most, operating 38 mostly temporary storage locations. Among logistics companies, Yamato Transport has 26 "hands-free travel" counters and Sagawa 11, many of which also provide same-day delivery service.

(Nikkei)

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