Reply To: Taking Mom who doesnt walk far: need advice please and itinerary. Ta

  • Accessible Japan

    January 5, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Hi Kat,

    Thank you for your post!

    I cannot speak to difficulties about luggage and pushing a wheelchair, but I think @melanie_lmt can address this.

    The JR Pass is worth it if you plan on using the bullet train (shinkansen) at all.  So, if you go from Niseko to Osaka by plane and only stay in Osaka, it may not be worth it.  However, if you plan on going to Tokyo and then Kyoto/Osaka by train, it is worth it.

    As for the train stations, every station the shinkansen stops at is wheelchair accessible.  In large cities like Tokyo and Osaka, over 90% of the train/subway stations are accessible and Sapporo and Kyoto are near that as well.  However, the stations have been made accessible after they were built for the most part and the elevators etc are often hidden away or in inconvenient locations – so finding your way can be hard.  Thankfully, the staff can help you.  When you get on the train in a wheelchair, the staff will help you get on the train and be waiting to help you off at your destination to guide you to the exit or your transfer, so you won’t need to worry about getting lost once you are in the station.

    You can see more here:

    All stations also have a station map online… in Japanese.  But if you have a question about a certain station, I can look it up for you. 🙂

    You may also want to consider taking a few essentials in a backpack and then sending your suitcase ahead to your next hotel via courier (

    About avoiding larger cities… that may make your journey harder.  While there are more people in the cities, the transportation is much more accessible.  Going to smaller cities you will notice a huge drop in accessibility.  Fewer train stations, bus routes that still have inaccessible buses, etc.  If your mom is able to, you can use a taxi.

    If you are OK with a planned tour, you may want to get in touch Alison (@ali_muskett) from Inside Japan Tours about their accessible tour package.

    If you plan on renting a wheelchair, talk to @wilgo and I believe they can send a portable wheelchair to be waiting for you and then you can return it at a different location.

    Hope this helps!  As we continue this discussion, feel free to start other question topics as well.

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