The Bullet train systems are in the process of changing at the moment, currently if you carry your big suitcase, you can actually take it in the bullet trains for free and there’s no need to pre-book. However, regulations are changing due to the increase in tourist numbers in Japan.
Bags on these lines will now be split into three categories, depending on their external dimensions (height x width x depth):
Bags with external dimensions adding up to less than 160cm are allowed on the train and nothing changes here, though you’ll be expected to put it on the shelf above your seat. (Luggage this size is about the same as an airline carry-on bag)
If you carry a massive suitcase, between 160cm to 250cm, you’ll need a special seat reservation from May 2020 onwards.This costs the same as a normal seat reservation (and is covered under your JR Pass). If you bring a bag this size on the train without reserving in advance, you’ll need to pay 1,000 JPY.
24. Public transport is always on time and without delay in Japan, however it can be the most expensive rail network
If you’re traveling to several cities and are planning to be in Japan for one or two weeks, we’d definitely suggest purchasing a JR pass as the easiest way to get around. However, if you’re staying in just one city or region, the regional passes or a ‘one day city pass