Photo: Pakutaso

How to stop your umbrella from getting stolen in Japan

By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

Despite being a relatively safe country, where big-ticket items like laptops and phones can be left unattended, not nicking what’s not yours doesn’t seem to count in Japan when it comes to cheap umbrellas.

Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of clever tips from people who’ve come up with special techniques to keep their umbrellas safe when leaving them in designated racks outside stores and businesses.

It’s common practice to leave your wet umbrella outside stores that don’t offer plastic sheaths in Japan.

Now, Twitter user @Moopa22 is here with a new hack that’s so smart it might just work at any time of the year.


That’s right — all you need to do is stuff a crumpled-up tissue in between the handle and the edge of the canopy. The tissue is clean and unused, of course, but only you know that, because to others, it looks like someone’s blown their nose with it.

Nobody wants to touch a stranger’s snotty tissue, especially during a pandemic, and umbrella owners everywhere were quick to praise the clever idea, saying:

“What a great defense method!””

“This is great! Why didn’t I think of this before?”


“You could also wipe chocolate on it…”

“Surely nobody would ever want to touch that!”

This hack really is simple yet effective, and it’s one we’ll definitely keep in mind for times like the rainy season.

Source: Twitter/@Moopa22

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Twitter user suggests creative idea to prevent umbrella theft, receives ovation from netizens

-- Steal this umbrella and be cursed for life! Japanese Twitter users’ creative anti-theft measures

-- How to protect your umbrella from rampant umbrella thieves in Japan

© SoraNews24

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

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what a cool idea and great it reaches the headlines in Japanese crime.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Buy a 200 yen umbrella and when it walks away, buy a new one.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Step one: don't carry an Umbrella.

Step two: don't live in Japan.

Step three: $$$

-15 ( +3 / -18 )

Booby trap the umbrella.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

During all my years here I’ve never experienced a serious theft of my umbrella, neither expensive nor those cheap ones. Maybe quite some exchange errors happen over time, for example my cheap umbrella away, but another one of the same kind available etc. The same btw happens often with all those shoes for inside use in ryokan, onsen, restaurants and such. You won’t find yours at the same place, but may feel free to take any similar others.

No, in contrary, when suddenly a stronger rainfall had occurred, shop owners or facility staff etc very friendly offered any available umbrella for free in case of the cheap ones or offering to bring it back anytime later in case of a slightly more expensive umbrella.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Be careful, there are guys out there who will see that and think "Oooh, free tissue too, double score!!"

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Or just put a distinctive label on it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Reminds me of my technique in keeping clear space around my clothes basket in the open lockers at many Onsens. You know - when there's 20 empty baskets in the rack but someone wants to set-up next to you - Who knows Why?

After de-robing and folding my clothes neatly, the last item to be placed are my undies on the front edge of the basket.

Sometimes socks work too.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Leaving your umbrella outside stores and convinis?!?! You mean the Umbrella Exchange Depots? :)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Umbrellas don't really get stolen in Japan. Most people put some into the system and sometimes take back.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And since they are essentially disposable items, quite a lot of people also leave them behind. If you find yourself without one when leaving a bar or restaurant, just ask the owner or staff. Most likely they will have a dozen umbrellas in the back that got left behind by other patrons.

That used to be my favorite Japan hack. Never brought an umbrella with me when it looked like it might rain. I could always count on the owner of whatever izakaya or bar I was in to have dozens of umbrellas for the asking. Rarely if ever actually had to buy one. And some that I was given were quite nice. They all ended up back in the missing umbrella ecosystem, though - either stolen or forgotten. That's why, when I do buy one, it's a cheapo model.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Oh pretty sure you'll find some dudes fancying that, even more if it's female's tissue ...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


Be careful, there are guys out there who will see that and think "Oooh, free tissue too, double score!!"

Put a big booger on the tissue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Leave a 1000 yen note in the umbrella. They will take the cash and you still keep the umbrella. Only cost me 20000 yen so far ..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In 34 years I have never bought an umbrella in Japan....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

actually the worker of a 7-11 stopped me from buying one when it was raining. She took me outside to the fence and said that if I ever need one, just check the fence. These are the umbrellas that are left behind by customers and to dispose of them, the owner of the convini needs to pay the local authority to come pick them up. So they usually hang them there so that the owner MIGHT come back and pick it up OUR you can take one and save the owner some money......the best life hack I've been told in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

EPIC FAIL and filthy behavior! - Poor choice and setup for failure, especially in Japan, that will lead others to follow with more ‘bad behavior’ and an accumulation of dirty tissues discarded at the entrance. Once one person does in Japan, others are very quick to follow suit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Recently witness a J woman take out a new, “used” mask from her handbag and hang on her expensive umbrella at the mall supermarket entrance.

Walking out :50 later, the woman was crying, complaining to staff that several people had now discarded and hung their obviously USED masks on it as they departed the store.

Didn’t see how her ‘claim’ was resolved even if the store took any of the responsibility, not that they had to. It was her choice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Write a threatening message on it. Something like Liam Neeson in Taken.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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