Seeing Japan’s Cherry Blossoms in a Wheelchair

Japan has turned cherry blossom viewing, or hanami, into both an art and an event.  Here are some tips for people with disabilities interested in visiting Japan during the cherry blossom season.


At popular cherry blossom site, the crowds can be difficult for people in wheelchairs or with other mobility challenges.  Many famous locations have a path that viewers follow and so you can find yourself stuck in a human current slowly moving forward.  It may be hard to enjoy the view at your own pace, you should definitely take the opportunity to out try this experience.


It goes without saying, but when you visit a crowded place, expect lines at the toilets!  Especially when everyone is drinking beer liberally!  Don”t worry, nearly every park in Japan has toilets that are wheelchair accessible.  Due to the number of people, you may want to give yourself plenty of time and/or use the nearest train station’s toilet. Additionally, you may want to bring your own toilet paper.


Many parks will have a small city of food trucks where you can get anything from salted fish on a stick, to Turkish doner kebabs! However, the vast majority do not tables and most people will put down a blue tarpaulin sheet and sit on the ground.  If you use a wheelchair you might want to bring something to put on your lap like a tray.


This post makes it sound like a horrible experience – but it isn’t, its great! We just want you to know what it is like so you can prepare and get the most out of your cherry blossom viewing. It is a great way to get a taste of Japanese culture and nature all at once. If the crowds are to much for you, you will be happy to know that there are small parks – like the one below – in every neighborhood of Japan that have some cherry blossom trees that you can leisurely enjoy.


For more information on traveling in Japan with a disability, check out Accessible Japan ( or ask a question in the Japan Forum (which we moderate).

Published in Tip, Travel


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