The One about Doing Coin-Op Laundry in Japan

A friend was asking me about laundry in Japan.

As I didn’t stay at an AirBNB or a friend’s place to access someone’s laundry machine, the hotels that I have been to have public laundry machines.  So, knowing this, I always bring a net (like the athletic sports equipment nets to hold footballs, basketballs, etc.) as a laundry bag.

It’s very light to fit in your luggage and easy to fold up when not in use.

The public laundromats in Japan work in the same way like a public laundromat in the US but there are differences.

For one, most of these machines already come with detergent.  So, no need to purchase detergent at the convenience store.

They are smaller load, so don’t be surprised if you are utilizing two washers (if you have a lot of clothes) but the worst is the dryer.  The heat is not the greatest, so you literally want to put enough coins for two hours if you have a large load.

So, make sure you have a good number of 100 yen coins.  Washing clothes is cheap at Y200.  Drying clothes is Y100 for 20 minutes, so  have at least Y600 just for drying your clothes.  All in all, you will be spending Y800 unless you need more time for drying your clothes for another 20-minutes.  But some may consider this as expensive, but compared to Europe, Japan’s public laundry prices are not that bad.

As for clothing safety, for the most part, your clothes are safe.  But sometimes there is theft.  While places I went to had cameras, they also put a photo of someone who stole blue jeans from the dryer and put a warning of what happened.

Also, the hotel has a sign not to leave your clothing for too long or an employee or someone may move it out, as others need to use the laundry machine as well.   If you are traveling and are using the laundromat and there are only 2-3 washer and dryer machines (to serve over a hundred patrons), definitely make sure you return to the area in time to move your clothes from the washer to the dryer or to remove your clothes from the dryer.  Be courteous about that!

Here is a video I made of me using a laundry machine in Japan:


Dennis A. Amith