Reply To: Electric wheelchair attachment hire

  • Mak

    September 3, 2023 at 2:26 pm

    We travelled in 2015 to Japan, with our adult son who used a manual wheelchair and a Speedy attachment. It was very interesting. The Shinkansen was extremely precious about travelling with the Speedy attachment and at some stations we were able to take it on board without wrapping it up and at others we had to wrap the whole thing up until you could not see any of it, the wheels, everything and get it onto the station like that. A Speedy is very hard to maneuver and is heavy when you cannot wheel it. The older Japanese Station employees were wonderful but the younger generation were very strict and had no empathy.
    ***Make sure you have all your weights and dimensions and if possible have them in Japanese.
    On the regular trains we had no problem.
    Lifts were interesting and our son sometimes just fitted with the wheelchair, himself and the Speedy, sometimes another p[erson could manage to fit in with him. And other times some of our party would have to go up in the lift first and then send him up on his own and the rest of our party came up last.
    Accessible bathrooms were great, we planned our trip well in advance and only had the problem that we could not get rooms on the same floor as the accessible floor. So our party was separated and the support worker and our son were on one floor and the other members were always on different floors of a hotel.
    Beware of rooms in Japan which are accessible and have had a person in them that has smoked. We had to move hotels due to this reason. Our son has asthma and the accessible room stunk of smoke. The hotel tried everything to clean it but it did not work. Thankfully we had booked through a travel agency and we were able to contact them and they were able to move us to another hotel, eventually, but it took time and was not a pleasant experience at all.
    We had Japanese guides in every place we went to and only one city did we find a guide was not knowledgeable about accessibility and would not take us to certain areas we wanted to go to because of our sons wheelchair, this was disappointing.

    The normal railway system is difficult with the lift system, if anyone in your party goes up the stairs, you may find that the lift you take with your wheelchair arrives at a completely different street to where the stairs are. Be aware of this. We found this on a number of occasions and we were glad we had our mobile phones. It was quite stressful to begin with.

    Once we overcame all of these “joys” of travelling Japan with a wheelchair and Speedy attachment, we had a great trip. Planning is key. Dec/Jan was a great time to travel as it was a lot quieter than other seasons and our son had plenty of room when sightseeing especially in Tokyo.

    My son is planning a return trip back to Japan in Autumn 2024 now.

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