Japan Rail has just released a list of the most rare and frequently lost items found on their trains, and when they’re most likely to find them.

The Japan Railways Group, more commonly referred to as JR, runs a large number of train networks throughout the country. JR Shikoku, which looks after passengers on the island in the south, operates 1,006 trains per day over an area of 855.2 kilometres, which includes a total of 259 stations. With such a busy operation, their lost-and-found department is also bustling, and now the rail company has shared news of the finds they’ve had over the past fiscal year, from 1 April, 2015 to 31 March, 2016, including some of the everyday items to the far more unusual and surprising.

Top 3

According to the company, the top three items left behind on trains and at train stations are:

1. Umbrellas (8,069/23.2 percent)

2. Personal accessories and ornaments (4,609/13.2 percent)

3. Books and stationery (3,700/10.6 percent)

Not far behind are mobile phones, with 2,300 picked up last year.


Where and When

While the majority of lost items are left inside trains (23,511/68.5 percent), quite a lot of forgotten items are found in stations too (9,286/27.1 percent).

And the month for losing things appears to be August, when 3,130 items were found, with umbrellas still being the most common item left behind (743). Incidentally, August was also the biggest month for losing cash, with a whopping 2,769,447 yen (US$26,688.33) picked up during the hottest month of the year.



In fiscal 2015, there were 34,305 cases of lost money, which amounted to a total of 25,525,693 yen (US$246,001.31). The largest cash find was a wad of 118,000 yen. Money was safely returned to owners in 10,145 cases (29.6 percent), with a total of 20,185,909 yen returned, which is an impressive rate of 79.1 percent of the total amount lost.


Weird and Wonderful

Some of the more unusual items left behind at trains and stations include:

Pilgrim staff poles and “kasaya” monk’s stoles, which actually isn’t too odd, given that the island of Shikoku is well-known for the 88-temple pilgrimage, popular with locals and visitors.

Dentures, Wii gaming consoles, udon noodles, and “Poultry with Bones”, although they failed to mention whether the poultry was raw, live or cooked.

The past year appears to have been quite tame in comparison to previous years, with 2013-2014 being the year they found things like a gyudon beef and rice bowl, a vacuum cleaner, a bowling ball, a long sword, watering cans, koinobori carp streamers, watermelons, X-ray photos and daikon radishes.


What to do

If you do ever lose something on the train, there are cases where the item might not be found immediately so the company suggests enquiring more than once to give you the best chance of finding your item. They also advise that you should go the train’s terminal station, where the item will most likely be held after carriages are checked upon terminating.

So next time you ride the rails in Japan, be sure to hang onto your umbrella, especially if you’re travelling around in summer. If you do lose something though, even if it’s a large wad of money, chances are high that it will be waiting, safe and sound, for you to come and colllect it!

Source: JR Shikoku Press Release via Tetsudo Shimbun
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