Accessing Kyoto and accessible Kyoto hotels

  • Accessing Kyoto and accessible Kyoto hotels

    Posted by Jay on July 10, 2022 at 12:44 am

    As noted in another post, I am in my mid 70’s, suffer from COPD, and use a whenever possible and a cane otherwise. Two quick questions:

    1. How difficult is it to get to Kyoto from an airport when using a walker and traveling with luggage?

    2. What are some well-located hotels offering a knowledgable concierge service?

    Thank you.

    Jay replied 1 year, 10 months ago 3 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Josh Grisdale

    July 10, 2022 at 12:10 pm


    Will you be coming from Tokyo (Narita or Haneda) or Osaka (Kansai International)? When going from either, you will arrive at Kyoto Station which is the main hub in Kyoto for the subway and buses.

    There are a number of hotels near the station which is likely recommended if you will be there a while.

    Hotel Granvia is attached to the station but I believe the accessible route is a bit inconvenient and you end up leaving the station anyway…

    Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Station is just across the street from the station and much cheaper.

    I think The Thousand Kyoto also has an accessible room and is just across the street, right next to Mitsui Garden Kyoto Station.

    • Jay

      July 10, 2022 at 10:46 pm

      Thank you again, Josh.

      A couple of things …

      I imagine my wife and I with luggage for two weeks and a rollater (walker). Managing public transportation strikes me as a daunting task. This seems to suggest either flying Chicago to Osaka and taking a cab or flying Chicago to Tokyo and getting some kind of van. I’m honestly not sure which is the more viable option.

      Given that I use a rollator and do not require a wheelchair, I am not sure that I need an accessible room as much as I might benefit from concierge service that can facilitate sightseeing. Beyond that, my biggest issues are likely to be endurance, stairs, and getting cabs that can accommodate a folding walker.

      Finally, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how many days to dedicate to Kyoto, what one additional city would be highest on your destination list, and how much time to spend there.

      Take care …

    • Josh Grisdale

      July 11, 2022 at 10:26 am

      Whichever airport you use, you may want to take advantage of luggage shipping as the bullet train has very little space for luggage.

      As for the concierge, you may need to rely on a more expensive hotel as smaller hotels often will just have a bunch of flyers. It might be good to reach out to hotels in advance about what services they can arrange.

    • Joan Pahisa

      August 9, 2022 at 1:18 am

      Hi Jay, moving around by cab in Japan can be quite expensive, especially for long distances. For small trips within the city it’s much better. If you arrive at Kansai Airport (KIX), buses going to Kyoto or to Osaka are just outside (on the same ground floor where arrivals get). Here’s a timetable of buses that go to Kyoto Station from KIX:

      Going by train may be a bit more complicated, as transfers would be the following: KIX to Namba Station by train, from Namba to Umeda by subway (red line named Midosuji) and from Umeda to Kyoto Station by train. The other option is to go to Shin Osaka instead of Umeda by subway and then take the bullet train to Kyoto Station. Even though, it may seem a bit daunting, actually, as a person with disabilities, if you ask station staff for help and tell them your destination (along the changes that you plan to make), staff will accompany you to the correct train and they will also be waiting for you at the platform when you get off to show you the way to your next train. It’s one of the perks of asking for assistance. If you use a rollator, you can ask for a “slope” or “suropu” in Japanese, to get on the train, so they can help you navigate the station.

      Just checked again the train options and there’s actually a train (JR Haruka 2 line) that goes from KIX to Kyoto station. If you asked for assistance on the plane, they could carry you to the train station and there you could ask for the assistance to go to Kyoto station.

      Regarding how long to stay in Kyoto, it depends whether you enjoy temples a lot or whether you only want to see 2-5 of them and then prefer to see other things and other cities.

      At a calm pace, I would definitely stay 3 to 5 full days in Kyoto (if you enjoy temples a lot even 7 days). From Kyoto, you can easily go to Osaka or Nara (you could keep staying in Kyoto, as there are many direct trains to both cities throughout the day). Osaka is a 15 or 30 minute ride (depending on the train) and Nara is a 1h ride. Then I would go 2-3 days to Osaka to visit the castle, Dotonbori (the area near the canal), Shinsekai for it’s different feel and its interesting street food and to one of the skyscrapers (either Abeno Harukas or Umeda Sky building), and 1-2 days to Nara to see the great Buddha, some more pagodas and also the deer. I would also suggest a 1-day trip to Himeji to see its castle, but, even if you take a taxi, to see the castle up close, you need to walk a lot and there are many stairs in the surrounding area and also inside the castle, so it may not be a good option. Otherwise, Kobe might be a good alternative for a 1-day trip if you want to enjoy some Kobe beef. It’s Chinese quarter and the port area are also interesting.

      Anyway, don’t hesitate to ask if you need anything else : )

    • Jay

      August 9, 2022 at 2:41 am

      Thank you so much, Joan, for the information. It was really helpful.

      Take care …

  • Josh Grisdale

    August 9, 2022 at 4:31 pm

    Just as a follow up to @joanp‘s amazing info, here is the accessibility information for those buses:

    • Jay

      August 9, 2022 at 8:28 pm

      Thank you, Josh.

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