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Forgot to grab your phone or guidebook? With these user-friendly lockers, there’s no need to pay again if you want to get it and lock your things back up.

There are few things more frustrating for travelers than tossing your bags into a locker, dropping in a few coins, shutting the door, and then immediately realizing you left something important inside. You’re then faced with the frustrating choice between opening the locker up to get what you need, meaning you’ll have to pay to lock it again, or doing without your phone, wallet, or guidebook for the day.

But that aggravation may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to Japan’s NC Nippon Coin Locker.

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Last year, the Sapporo-based company started installing a new model of locker with what it calls a “service door.” In Japan, the word “service” is often used to mean “free” or “complimentary,” and so NC Nippon Coin Locker’s service door is a small inset that can be opened or closed as many times as you like without having to pay any additional fees.

Company president Kan Matsuzaki said he originally came up with the user-friendly idea roughly 40 years ago, but the complex, bulky construction of locking mechanisms at the time made such a configuration impractical. Now, though, technology and engineering have caught up with his vision.

The small, angled opening isn’t large enough for users to pull their entire bag through, which discourages people from leaving the full-size door permanently closed and claiming the locker until the end of time. At the same time, the service door still provides enough clearance to reach in and grab small items like a map, battery pack, or even a thin jacket.

There are currently some 1,500 service door-equipped lockers across Japan, primarily at ski resorts and pools. Matsuzaki says he hopes the convenient design eventually becomes the norm, and we’re sure backpackers and day-trippers agree.

Source: Yahoo! News Japan
Top image: NC Nippon Coin Locker
Insert images: NC Nippon Coin Locker (1, 2)
[ Read in Japanese ]

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he figures service door lockers will probably save him about 1,000 yen a year.

[ Read in Japanese ]