I love giving you guys advice for when you’re in Japan, but for now let me give you a little bit of advice for when you’re leaving Japan. When you’re planning your flight out of the country, there are services you can utilize to ship your luggage from wherever you’re staying to the airport. They are sooooo helpful. Unbelievably helpful.
You have to give them about three or four days in advance so they can ship the luggage to the airport, but if you can pack everything you don’t need for a four day period and have it shipped to the airport ahead of you, it makes your trip to the airport so much less stressful. This is especially true if you are staying in a city without an international airport. For example, I was staying in Nagasaki which meant I had to take a bus all the way to Fukuoka (about a two hour drive) and then I had to get from the bus station to the airport. If I had tried to navigate the busy streets with two suitcases, a backpack, and a carry on bag, I think I would have just sat down on the ground in the middle of the bus station and started crying. But luckily, I didn’t have to because I shipped half of that to the airport ahead of me!
When you use this service, you can get the company to come to your location (they came to my dorm) and pick up your bags, or you can drop your bags off at participating convenience stores. They will take your luggage to the airport and then when you get to the airport you find their little station and pick up your bags. When they take your bags, you have to fill out a little slip with information about the airport you’re going to and then they give you a copy of that slip so that when you pick up your luggage they can match the slips and give you the right suitcase. You have to take the luggage to get checked in and everything, but your travel to the airport becomes so much easier.
Here is an example of the slip you have to fill out:
This was the company that we all used to ship, and it was real helpful:
My other piece of advice when it comes to luggage is to make sure it’s not overweight. If you have a lot of stuff you want to take home with you, maybe you bought a lot of clothes, CD’s, anime merchandise, and plushies like I did, you can always mail stuff home. And mailing a big heavy box of stuff isn’t free, but my personal experience with an overweight bag (if you’ll let me be a little over dramatic for a minute) was traumatizing. I knew when I went to the airport that my bags were overweight. Sure enough, the employee weighed them and I would have to pay a fee. It took them like 45 minutes to even calculate what that fee would be, and on top of that, it was outrageous. I believe I paid around $600 for one overweight bag and $400 for the other and they were only like three or four pounds over the limit.
So just be aware that this is a potential issue. I’m not sure if every airline would have the same fees that I ran into, but it’s always nice to have a heads up.