Accessible pizza bar in Fukuoka, Japan

  • Accessible pizza bar in Fukuoka, Japan

    Posted by lorenzo.panthea on February 16, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    Hi All! I am Lorenzo, from Rome and currently living in Japan. I wrote to Accessible Japan some time ago and I was suggested to join this community and ask for your advice.

    My wife and I will open Panthea, a pizza bar, in Fukuoka, as soon as possible.

    We would like to make the venue accessible to everyone, as that’s the spirit my wife and I are undertaking this project. I am in contact with an Interior Design company here in Japan and I expressed them our desire to make the venue as accessible as possible, but I don’t know how much experience they have on this exact topic. I have limited knowledge myself, but I would like to fix that. I wonder if you can suggest pdf documents available online with requirements we can follow to be considered an accessible venue, so that I can make sure first hand everything is done as good as possible.

    Also I would like to have your opinion on having a bar counter somehow similar to the one in the attached picture. At first I was thinking it might be a very interesting design in order to have people on the wheelchair join everybody on the lower side of the bar counter. However, after an initial enthusiasm for the design I thought it would not be comfortable at all if two friends, one with wheelchair and one without one, come and drink together. Also I read this article of a group of Japanese students testing a “rising” wheelchair:

    That got me thinking that maybe all customers would appreciate more a simple table to be all at the same eye level with their friends and just leave the counter for people that want to stand.

    Got any documents to share and ideas for bar counter and whatnot? Any kind of input is really appreciated, we are all ears.


    Nomad Traveler replied 2 years ago 3 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • schroth-sensei

    February 16, 2022 at 3:05 pm

    Hello Lorenzo,

    To start, I’m happy to see that you want to make your shop more accessible! I used to design buildings in the US and have had to design buildings with accessibility code requirements on many occasions. I find that the vast majority of the time the codes allow most people to access public places with little to no issues (I know from personal experience, being a wheelchair user myself). So, I would recommend checking out the design codes directly at the official website for the Americans with Disabilities Act found here:

    Using this link you can find both a web version and PDF version, both are FREE and copies are encouraged! Better yet they even started to label dimensions in metric units alongside US imperial units, making it a bit more accessible.

    There is a lot of information here and I recommend looking it over, but here’s a few particular parts that you may find useful (listed by section number):

    • 304 Turning Space (a few nice diagrams of wheelchair sizes and planning for turning)
    • 306 Knee and Toe Clearance (can be very important, especially wheelchair access under bar spaces)
    • 308 Reach Ranges (great examples of reaching over tables from a wheelchair)
    • 404 Doors, Doorways, and Gates (too small isn’t accessible)
    • 405 Ramps (avoiding steep slopes)
    • 603 Toilet and Bathing Rooms (various accessible options)

    As for your mention of the “rising” wheelchair, I have seen a few wheelchair brands that do sell power wheelchairs with this functionality. I cannot say how many wheelchair users buy them, but personally I’ve only ever seen one person actual using one. It is an added expense to an already expensive device, I imagine many are like me and don’t end up buying it because of cost. Also, it’s usually sold as a way for people with upper body strength to reach high cabinets, in some places this may not be covered at all by health insurance. So, I wouldn’t count on people using “rising” wheelchairs in the shop.

    Other than that, I would just generally say don’t just locate a wheelchair accessible space in the back or out of the way somewhere. I personally prefer to have similar seats options as everyone else, or at least similar views (assuming your place has a nice window view or something). Plus I like to eat with friends (able-bodied or not), so a group of us can more easily fit with tables and chairs than booths and bar-stools.

    Anyway, I hope that helps, and good luck with Panthea!


  • lorenzo.panthea

    February 18, 2022 at 11:39 am

    Thanks a lot Justin for taking the time to answer in detail and link the documents.

    It did help a lot!

    Yeah, the whole idea of that leaning round shaped bar counter was to be all together, but a good old table is probably the best option.

    We will definitely do our best to create an enjoyable environment for everybody!

    Thanks again,


  • schroth-sensei

    February 18, 2022 at 1:39 pm

    Great! I’m glad I could help. Please let us know how the construction and opening go, we would love hear about it!


  • lorenzo.panthea

    February 18, 2022 at 9:06 pm

    Deal, we’d love to share!


  • Nomad Traveler

    July 16, 2022 at 11:47 pm

    Will definitely get my Dad to visit he would love to sit in your pizza bar and enjoy his food.This is one thing he always points out when he goes out for dining (the table comfort).He strongly feels that the restaurants can definitely do a better job keeping in mind the needs for wheelchair individuals.Probably even one table can suffice.Thanks for thinking about it.

Log in to reply.

Skip to content