If you’ve lost something on a Japan Rail train, don’t give up! It’s not guaranteed but it’s highly likely you will recover your belongings as long as you are still in Japan.
Japan Rail lost property service
Once JR staff find lost properties, they normally will be stored in the last stop on the lines which you took at the lost property counter or お忘れ物承り場所 (owasuremono uketamawaribasho) for around 1 week (this varies from JR region to region, generally trains that stop at Tokyo send lost property to the Tokyo lost and found). After this, belongings are transferred to the regional Police Lost & Found Centre.
Lost and found counters
As long as you recently lost your item, you can go direct to JR to recover it by going along to their lost property counters. You can also give them a call before you go to the lost property service counter, to make sure they have your property.
Before telephoning or visiting, make sure you know:
- The date you lost your property
- The train you took when you lost your property
- Train number eg. Kodama653
- Departure and arrival station
- Boarding/Arrival time
- Train car number and seat number
- Detailed description of your property
- Item name
- Brand, colour etc.
Be sure to include any unique characteristics rather than giving a generic description, this will ensure your enquiry has the greatest chance of success.
Delivery postal service
Japan being the helpful country it is, you can also choose to have your lost items posted to you (in Japan only) for a small charge (the charge is collected on delivery by the courier). In order to use this service, you’ll have to have call the JR lost and found counters using one of the methods below:
Major Japan Rail lost and Found counters
You’ll find Lost & Found counters at large JR stations. Sadly Lost & Found counter online maps are not available right now from JR, but when you go to the station, pop into the JR information counter and ask the staff. If JR staff are not able to speak English, this is the magic phrase: “Otoshimono counter wa doko desuka?” (Where is the lost & found counter?). Here are the opening times of the most common Lost and Found counters at major JR stations:
Even though the Japanese lost property system is incredibly good, the key point with lost property also applies in Japan: Once you realise you have lost something, contact the JR group immediately! Good luck!
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