Alternative to Rinko in Shinkansen


Jan 26, 2017

My wife and I will be touring in Japan this spring. We fly to Narita, take the train to Kyoto on the Shinkansen, and ride back.

We use padded flight bags but would rather not tour with them. I am familiar with lightweight Rinko bags but was wondering if there are alternatives, such as covering the bikes (front wheel removed) in garbage bags or some other cheap/one-time solution.

So, is it OK to wrap a bike inside garbage bags or does it have to look like a true Rinko bag?




Maximum Pace
Dec 4, 2006
Rinko is best, but I've gotten away many times using a 100 yen store bike cover. Its a light weight, silver rain cover they sell for bikes for less than $1 at 100 yen stores, and covering the bike with front wheels removed and taping the bottom with a bit of tape's done the trick for me many times... I've only been stopped for this once, but have been able to get away using the "sorry I don't understand/I'm a foreigner" card. I've also seen large garbage bags and duct tape used ( with both wheels removed and entire bike covered), but I've also seen guys get stopped for this. I think part of the trick is to quickly getting thru the ticket stalls w/o drawing too much attention and placing the bike in the train where it doesn't interfere with flow of traffic (front or back most rail cars and on Shinkansen - behind the rear most seats on most rail cars or in the larger galley that have restrooms and vending machines). Good luck, riding in Japan is great.
Last edited:
Aug 27, 2012
London, UK
The key thing is to not having any part of the bike showing (except perhaps the seat and seat post). If your rain covers have big holes in them where people who brush against them could get dirt/grease on their clothes then you are likely to fall foul of the train staff - that's where the tape can come in to close up the bag.
Other thing to mention (and I am presuming you haven't been often to Japan otherwise you would know this already) is that there is very little space on a Shinkansen for luggage so your bikes will either have to go behind the last seat row on the carriage or in the corridor (hence why people could brush against them). Therefore it is useful to also carry a short rope or elasticated (bungy) strap to tie the bike upright in the corridor (tied to a handle or bar)


Maximum Pace
Oct 16, 2014
Seriously, if you get bumped off a train that costs 9,000 yen each cause you were trying to save 2,000 yen and can happily and willingly accept 100% of the fault then go for it. I would think the rinko is kind of like insurance that you can get somewhere in a timely and cost efficient manner. I've seen too many times when the Gaijin has tried to short the system and then act all pissed off for getting called out on it.