Boasts a number of advantages over taking your chances with coin lockers at the train station.
With its densely developed cities, meandering networks of backstreets, and almost total lack of street crime, Japan may be the greatest country in the world to explore on foot. One thing that can sour the experience, though, is having to lug a suitcase around with you.
Finding someplace to stash your luggage can be especially problematic if you’re not spending the night in the particular town or district in which you’re sightseeing, something that can often happen if you’re taking advantage of one of the excellent-value unlimited-use rail passes for foreign travelers. With no hotel at which to store your bags, you could try looking for a locker at the nearest rail station, but if they happen to all be taken, or too small to wedge your suitcase into, you’re stuck carrying your baggage with you for the day.
But the people at Ecbo Cloak have another way to handle your luggage while traveling in Japan. Ecbo Cloak administers a network of retail shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars which will store your luggage on their premises at prices comparable to what you’d pay for a coin locker at the station.
▼ Ecbo Cloak’s Kyoto video
As shown in the company’s promotional video recorded in Kyoto, the city’s cobblestone streets and temple staircases are much easier to navigate without having to pull a suitcase behind you. The same would hold true for the crowded sidewalks of Tokyo and other urban centers of Japan.
▼ Available spaces near Shinjuku Station in Tokyo
Since Ecbo Cloak’s partners simply store your bags on their excess floor space, any size of luggage, including large suitcases and baby strollers, can be accommodated. Another advantage over the first-come-first-served nature of lockers is that you can reserve storage space in advance. That way you’ll be assured of having a place to leave your bags, instead of having to roam from one bank of lockers to the next throughout the city until you finally find an opening.
Users can search for available spaces and make reservations online through Ecbo Cloak’s website, which can be viewed in English, Chinese, simplified Chinese, and Korean, in addition to Japanese. Payment is also handled online through your credit card.
Ecbo Cloak originally launched in Tokyo and Kyoto, has recently expanded to Osaka, and is currently in beta testing in Fukuoka. The company is planning to bring its service to Nagoya and Sapporo in the near future, and by the end of the year hopes to have 10,000 affiliated storage spaces.
The extremely simple pricing plan has just two tiers: 300 yen (US$2.70) per item under 45 centimeters (17.7 inches) in length, and 600 yen per day for items longer than 45 centimeters. Complete listing of available spaces can be found on the Ecbo Cloak website here.