Planning a trip to Japan and wondering what to do about laundry? You're not alone. When my wife and I took a 14-day vacation to Japan, we faced the same dilemma. Because we were backpacking, there was no way we could fit two weeks' worth of clothes in our bags.
So, we did a simple strategy: pack enough clothes for just 5 days and wash them periodically during the trip. The perfect solution for this is using a coin laundry, or as it's also known, a laundromat.
In Japan, finding a coin laundry is usually quite easy. They're often located near residential areas, train stations, and even within hotels. Also, many hotels in Japan offer coin laundry facilities, making it convenient for guests to wash clothes without needing to venture far.
In this article, I'll share the steps of using a coin laundry in Japan. I hope this guide will come in handy for those who are planning a vacation in Japan and want to use this helpful laundry service. Here are the steps you'll need to follow:
The first step is to collect all your dirty clothes. I suggest putting them in a cloth bag or some other container that makes it easy to carry them back once they're clean.
If you have clothes that bleed color easily, separate them from the rest. The same goes for white clothes to prevent them from getting stained by other colored garments
Next, you'll need detergent and fabric softener or fragrance. While you can bring these from home, laundromats typically have vending machines where you can buy single-use packets.
Insert a coin into the vending machine, turn the knob, and the detergent or fragrance you need will be dispensed, similar to a gachapon toy vending machine. One packet of detergent is usually sufficient for one load of laundry.
After that, find a washing machine that's available—usually, if the door is open, it's free to use. Insert the required amount of coins, which typically ranges from 200 to 400 yen.
If you don't have coins, most laundromats have a money changer where you can break down larger bills into 100 yen coins. Check the article below to try using one.
Once you insert the coins, the washing machine will run a self-cleaning cycle for about 10 seconds. After that, water will start to fill the tub. Now you can add your clothes and the detergent you've brought or purchased.
Close the washing machine door to begin the wash cycle, which usually lasts about 30 minutes. Many machines have timers that display how much time is left.
Once the washing cycle is complete, move your clothes to a dryer. Dryers are generally located above or beside the washing machines.
If you prefer, you can also take your damp clothes home at this point. If you decide to dry them, you may also add fabric softener or deodorizer. Interestingly, some fragrances in Japan are available in small, tissue-like sheets that provide a pleasant scent when used.
Remember not to put any metal objects like coins in the dryer; they could damage the machine or pose a safety hazard.
After placing your clothes in the dryer, close the door. Insert the required coins and press the start button. The drying process will usually last around 30 minutes. If your clothes are still a bit damp when the cycle ends, you can add more coins and run it again.
Once your clothes are fully dry, take them out of the dryer and put them back in your bag or container. Always double-check to make sure you haven't left anything in the machines.
These are the basic steps for most coin laundries in Japan, although some may have specific operating procedures. Always read the instructions or manual at each laundromat to ensure you're using the machines correctly. If anything is unclear, don't hesitate to ask other customers for help.
As a final tip, many hotels offer ironing equipment that you can borrow for free. We usually iron our clothes right after washing them to keep them looking fresh.
This is particularly useful if you have meetings or events where you need to dress up. So, don't forget to take advantage of this service if it's available at your hotel.