Accesibility in Okinawa

  • Accesibility in Okinawa

    Posted by patrikk on April 25, 2019 at 4:34 am

    Hi, and thanks for the great website accesible-japan and the youtube videos provided about dissability in Japan,

    Me and my girlfriend (and two helpers) is travelling from Denmark to Japan, where we will visit Tokyo, Kyoto, Takamatsu (visting Naoshima and Teshima) and finally Okinawa before traveling back home. We will be in Japan for around 5 weeks. So far everything has been a breeze in terms of booking hotels and transportation on the main island – shimkansen and the other cities seems to have good means of transportation for disabled people!

    We have flight tickets ordered and verified with our flight company Peach Air that they are able to transport the two electric wheelchairs we are brigning for the trip (one big, easy terrain going, and a small one mostly used indoors). But when looking at hotels, airbnb, and transportation around the island, we are having second thoughts. Has anybody been there, and what was your experience as a disabled person? We are also thinking about changing the destination to Ishgaki.

    What we really would like is a comfortable hut near the beach. Any feedback is appreciated.

    Patrikk and Freja

    Anna replied 5 years ago 3 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Accessible Japan

    April 25, 2019 at 10:26 am


    First of all, I think that @melanie_lmt should be in on this discussion as she wrote a few blogs on this.

    The biggest issue in Okinawa is getting around as there are no trains (aside from the Naha monorail).  The inter-city buses are not wheelchair accessible.  I have gone a few times, so you will need to either rent an accessible vehicle (which may be hard) or use taxis.  I can introduce you to a taxi company if needed.

    Ishigaki is really nice as well, and the buses are wheelchair accessible (according to a website, not personal experiences).  If you decide on Ishigaki, I can introduce you to a company that does tours and just started an accessible tour there.

    The water buffalo rides on the nearby Taketomi island are accessible too!

    Also, we started a forum on the Accessible Japan website as well, so you may want to post there as well:

  • patrikk

    May 2, 2019 at 3:20 am

    Hi again, and thanks for the quick reply.

    We decided not to travel to Okinawa and are now instead looking for areas that is more nature like (mountains, forrests, beachlike etc.) which it seems Japan has plenty of. A place with less sightseeing and more relaxed atmosphere. If you have any get-away areas you have enjoyed feel free to give out reccomendations that are wheelchair freindly. I could also make another thread on this?

    We have currently been looking at Hakone, Kanazawa, Wakayama and Shirakawa Go.


  • Accessible Japan

    May 2, 2019 at 11:51 am


    Yes, it would likely be best to keep threads to a specific theme.

    You can also post on the forum on Accessible Japan itself:

  • Anna

    May 31, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    Hi I’m travelling to Okinawa this June. Besides travelling on the main island, I would like to travel to Ishigaki and Hateruma sland (particularly to go to the stargazing tower).  I would like to know about the transport on both of these island. Would we be able to rent cars or take their buses? Is the plane from Naha airport accessible for wheelchair users to get to Ishigaki Island and also the ferry from Ishigaki to Hateruma Island.

    Many thanks to anyone who can share some information on these 2 islands.

  • Accessible Japan

    June 1, 2019 at 5:59 pm


    For on the main island, you will need to use a taxi to get around.  I can introduce a company to you if needed.

    The plane from Naha to Ishigaki is accessible – however, you may need to tilt the chair backrest, or put it on the side as the height of the storage area is likely only 80cm.  What type of wheelchair will you be using?

    Some of the buses on Ishigaki are wheelchair accessible. So getting around on the island should be ok. You can use Google Translate here:

    As for getting to Hateruma Island, I just called the boat company and only the 2nd boat is accessible.  The 1st and 3rd are not (apparently it is due the timing of the tides – when the tide is low you get on the 2nd floor of the boat at Hataruma Island but the boat only has steps down to the 1st floor so when you arrive back at Ishigaki Island you cannot get down to the 1st floor without walking).

    The stargazing tower is on the opposite side of the island from the port, and takes a 45min bicycle ride… the website said the planetarium is unusable at the moment due to its age.


  • Accessible Japan

    June 1, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    Here is a bus schedule for Ishigaki:

    Looks like most are accessible.

  • Anna

    June 1, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Hi thank you so much for replying and calling the ferry company.

    Its my husband who is on wheelchair. He is sitting on a foldable light weight wheelchair. His back rest is low.

    We plan to rent a car for travelling on the main island. And sounds like Ishigaki is a possibility for us now since you said that the buses are accessible.

    It is a pity about the stargazing tower. We may have to skip it.

    Thank you so much for your help.

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