Reply To: Artificial leg and Japanese shoe removal custom

  • Accessible Japan

    October 26, 2017 at 4:45 pm


    Your email really made me sad.  That the lack of understanding from your tour operator could be such a discouragement.  Sure, it is custom to remove your shoes in Japan, but people are very understanding.  There are people in wheelchairs, orthopedic braces and with artificial legs here too!

    A few things:

    • I use an electric wheelchair. I have been to a few places where people are required to change shoes.  For me, they just wiped my tires.
    • I have seen plastic shoe covers used
    • One place I saw offers a push wheelchair for indoor use – so, you could use that if push came to shove

    So, I don’t think you have anything to worry about in terms of being restricted from any public tourist attractions.

    I am not sure what the special events are, but if it was say a tea ceremony on a tatami mat – I would be surprised if the place denied you entry based on your situation if you explain it (as it would be discrimination).

    I would suggest that if you are asked to remove your shoes:

    • Show your leg so they understand
    • Use a plastic shoe cover

    I would also suggest changing your tour operator! To me it seems that they have just read stuff in books and have little experience!  If you don’t need to use them, try:  They could build a custom tour and contact places in advance.

    Please, don’t be discouraged!

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