Question of Transport


Greetings fellow members of Bachido!
I just signed up today, and I’m excited to be here.

I don’t have a Shamisen yet, but that will change in January, when my sister, who will be returning home from Kyoto for two weeks, is going to bring me a beginner level Shamisen from Japan. So excited!

But here’s the question I have; is there something to be concerned about when taking it on an airplane? Can it get damaged easily? Should she take it onboard with her hand luggage?
So how should she handle the whole transport situation?

Thanks in advance! :slight_smile:


Hi Jules. I just came back from Japan to France with my (mitsuori) shamisen . It easily travelled onboard with our hand luggage (the mitsuori case is almost as small as a computer case). As Kyle recommended, if it is a nobezao (one piece dou), the skin must be well protected and the dou must be placed on a luggage that can be taken on board by your sister. Everything is explained by Kyle in the “Care and Handling” section.


Jules, I prefer to have it in the cabin with me for a variety of reasons (eg. that way, you know no one used it for football practise in the luggage area! {just kidding}). However, I have also put it under the plane. For that trip, I told my dealer that it was going to be transported that way, so he packed it accordingly with extra protection. And I also told the airlines at check-in that it was fragile (and in Japan, fortunately, they know what a shamisen is! {s}), so my package was tagged and put in the fragile luggage section, which I believe is hand-loaded, etc…

So if you sister does want to put it in the luggage compartment, ask her to tell the place where she’s getting it to pack it as if it were being shipped as freight, and then tell her to make sure she alerts the check-in staff to flag it as fragile.


Welcome to Bachido, Jules! :slight_smile:

Whoa! New shamisen coming straight from Japan! Major excite!

In my opinion, if each piece of the shamisen is wrapped in a thick towel (with more protection around the joints), it should be fine in luggage. The skin is the thing I’m always worried about, that’s the one should be slipped into her handbag and brought into the cabin.

Results can also depend on the airline she takes. I’ve never had problems with ANA. :slight_smile:


It is possible to travel with a full hard case on a plane instead of the smaller version?


You should always check the rules of the specific airline you’re flying, but generally if the case fits in the overhead bin (remember space is first-come, first-served) the airline will treat the instrument case as a regular carry-on.


I brought a sanshin back from Japan as hand luggage with JAL. I went to the gate early and talked to the staff. When boarding started, they came and found me and put me in the priority queue so that I’d have space for it!


I think it is definetly, at least with EasyJet (the airline I used); they put it the oversize luggage (not sure if it’s called that) section and we had no problems ^^


I went with the smaller option in the end. My friend is bringing it for me so I didn’t take any chances :slight_smile: