Left something behind on the Shinkansen? Here's what to do in such a situation.
If you've left an item on the Shinkansen, contact the lost and found center of the railway company that operates the train.
Providing the train name and seat number, if known, will be helpful.
How lost items are handled
Lost items are typically collected by JR cleaning staff at the final destination station. Alternatively, if someone else later occupies your seat and discovers your lost item, the train conductor will handle it.
Once collected, lost items are transferred to the railway company's lost and found center and registered in their system. Therefore, when you lose something, you should contact the railway company's lost and found center.
The period during which the railway company holds lost items is usually about one week. If this period elapses without the owner claiming the item, it is handed over to the police. After six months of police custody, unclaimed items are returned to the railway company and eventually disposed of.
How to inquire
For example, if you traveled on the Tokaido Shinkansen, which is operated by JR Tokai from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka and by JR West from Shin-Osaka to Hakata, the jurisdiction can be a bit complex as "Nozomi" and "Hikari" trains run through both companies. In such cases, it's advisable to contact both companies. If you're staying at a hotel in Japan, you might ask the hotel staff to help you make inquiries with JR, which can be more convenient.
When inquiring about a lost item, providing details like the travel date, train name, boarding station, alighting station, and seat number (if available) can make it easier to locate your item. Even if you don't know your seat number, providing information like the car number (carriage number) or whether it was on the right or left side can still be valuable.
Below, we have provided information about the lost and found services for various JR companies.
JR Hokkaido (Shin-Hakodate Hokuto - Sapporo)
JR East (Tokyo - Sendai - Shin-Aomori, Shin-Hakodate Hokuto /Tokyko - Karuizawa - Nagano - Toyama - Kanazawa)
JR Central (Tokyo - Odawara - Nagoya - Kyoto - Shin-Osaka)
JR West (Shin-Osaka - Okayama - Hiroshima - Hakata)
Shipping your lost items is an option too
If you've left something behind on the Shinkansen and going to the station to collect it is not feasible, you'll be relieved to know that within Japan, it's possible to have your lost items shipped to you.
However, please be aware that when opting for this service, you will typically be responsible for the shipping costs (cash on delivery). It's advisable to inquire and discuss this option when reaching out for assistance.