Enjoy Hands-Free Travel in Takayama and Matsumoto

Matsumoto Castle

Ditch your heavy luggage and travel light by using Shoryudo Hands Free Travel, a same-day baggage delivery service between Takayama and Matsumoto.

Have you ever felt sweaty, tired or annoyed from lugging your heavy suitcase (or shopping bags  - we know we’ve been guilty of this one!) around while on holiday? Luckily, Japan, the “land of convenience”, has just the solution for you: hands-free travel.

What is Hands-Free Travel?

Suitcases

Hands-free travel means travelling without the encumbrance of bulky or heavy luggage such as suitcases, large rucksacks, and overnight bags. In Japan, you can use hands-free travel services (baggage forwarding services) to make your trip more enjoyable and hassle-free by ditching your heavy luggage and travelling light. 

Hands-free travel services are paid delivery services that transport your luggage from one destination to another, freeing you of the burden of dragging your heavy luggage around all day while sightseeing or when travelling between different hotels, towns or regions.

So don’t let armfuls of suitcases, rucksacks, and souvenirs load you down on your travels and sightseeing tours while in Japan - use a hands-free delivery service and travel light. JNTO keeps a list of hands-free travel services based at airports and hotels across the country: www.jnto.go.jp/hands-free-travel/

Delivery services in Japan offer high standards of quality and safety, and on-time and careful deliveries are guaranteed, so you can rest assured and enjoy your day of sightseeing empty-handed, safe in the knowledge that your precious cargo will be conveyed to its onward destination both safely and securely.

In the Shoryudo region of central Japan, you can enjoy stress-free travel with Shoryudo Hands Free, a same-day baggage delivery service covering the Takayama and Matsumoto area of Gifu prefecture in central Japan. 
 

About Shoryudo Hands Free

Shoryudo Hands Free
 
Shoryudo Hands Free offers same-day delivery from and to over a dozen hotels in Takayama and Matsumoto. What makes this service special and differentiates it from many existing baggage forwarding services is that your luggage is forwarded to your next hotel the same-day
 
It’s a simple process - all you need to know is: your name, your contact information in Japan, and the name of the hotel to which you want your luggage forwarded. Drop off hours are between 7am to 9pm, and delivery hours to your hotel are from 5:15pm on the same day.

Usually, baggage delivery services only offer next-day delivery, however with the Shoryudo service same-day delivery is made possible by cleverly using spare trunk space in highway buses to transport the luggage, rather than designated delivery service vehicles.

How to Use Shoryudo Hands Free

Shoryudo Hands Free
 
To use the new service, simply drop off your baggage at your hotel reception desk, filling in a delivery slip with your name, emergency contact information, and the name of the destination hotel. The staff will attach one copy of the delivery slip and a luggage tag to your luggage and seal it with a security seal. They will give you another copy of the delivery slip - make sure you keep it safe, as you’ll need it to pick up your luggage later that day.

That’s it! Now you are free to go out, have fun, and spend dawn to dusk roaming and sightseeing the best of what Japan has to offer, all without carrying around heavy bags. When you’re done, head to your next hotel and show your copy of the delivery slip to the hotel reception counter at your new hotel to get your luggage back.

The new service is on trial from 28th August until 15th November this year and costs 3,000 yen / £20.30 per item. Pay the fee directly at the hotel reception upon drop-off (check with the hotel regarding accepted payment methods but if in doubt it’s best to prepare cash). 
 
Luggage can be sent between any of the hotels participating in the scheme. Currently a total of thirteen hotels are covered: seven in Takayama and six in Matsumoto. Check the service’s website for a full list of all the hotels covered by the scheme. 

So now that you’ve divested yourself of your heavy goods, what can you do to while away the daylight hours while your luggage is wending its way to your next hotel?

Where To Visit While Using Shoryudo Hands Free

Hida-Takayama

Takayama ©Yasufumi Nishi
 
Takayama old town is one of the hottest places to go right now for travellers wishing to visit a traditional rural town outside of Japan’s big main cities. With its narrow streets of well-preserved Edo period (1603-1868) merchants’ shops, houses, sake breweries and coffee shops - many of which have been in business for hundreds of years - visitors to Takayama will truly feel they have stepped back in time to a Japan of a bygone era.

Kamikochi

Kamikouchi
 
If you’re looking to get out of the big smoke on your visit to Japan then you could do much worse than Kamikochi, a haven of pristine wilderness in the Japan Alps. Private motor vehicles are forbidden from entering this 15 km long plateau nestled high in the northern Japanese Alps in part of the Chubu Sangaku National Park. With its clean, fresh air and water and breath-taking alpine scenery, you might be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported to the Swiss Alps.
 

Shinhotaka Ropeway

Shinhotaka Ropeway

The first thing you’ll probably notice about Shinhotaka Ropeway is its distinctive double-decker gondola cars, which were the first of their kind in Japan. The second thing you’ll notice (if you ride it!) is how high it is - it has one of the largest elevation gains of any of Japan’s ropeways, ascending over 1000 metres up the flank of the Hotaka mountain range.

Norikura

Norikura Echoline

Mt Norikura (Norikura-dake) is the southernmost peak in the northern Japan Alps. Due to its high elevation, it’s one of the first places in Japan to see the start of autumn colours each year in mid to late September to mid October. The Norikura Kogen Highlands at the foot of the mountain are crammed with lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and splendid mountain vistas.

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle ©Matsumoto City
 
One of Japan’s best-preserved original castles, Matsumoto Castle’s dramatic black wainscotting - which has given rise to its nickname, the “crow castle” - and the fact that visitors can go inside and explore the keep’s interior (but only in their socks, to protect the keep’s original wooden flooring) distinguish it from other castles in Japan. 

Other attractions in Matsumoto include the Former Kaichi School, the oldest elementary school in Japan, and Matsumoto City Museum of Art, whose permanent exhibits include those by the artist Yayoi Kusama, who was born and raised in the town. Further afield there is Japan Ukiyoe Museum, housing a vast collection of Japanese woodblock prints, and the picturesque and interesting Daio Wasabi Farm, with plenty of novelty wasabi-flavoured treats for you to try if you dare

Check out one British traveller’s experience of using the Shoryudo Hands Free service here: Hands-Free Travel: Takayama to Matsumoto. Find out more about using the service on the Shoryudo Hands Free Travel website.
 
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