Discuss accessible travel in Japan – from Hokkaido to Okinawa and everything in between!
Discuss accessible travel in Japan – from Hokkaido to Okinawa and everything in between!
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Any advice for July 2018 Japan trip?
Any advice for July 2018 Japan trip?Posted by giacopini on June 24, 2018 at 3:42 pm
I use a power chair at home. Will use a manual chair (and hopefully some type of power assist). Traveling with my nondisabled husband, my friend and her adult daughter. We fly into Osaka July 4. In Kyoto until 7/8 when we take the bullet train to Tokyo. In Tokyo til we board an 8-day 7/11-19) Princess cruise around the island stopping in Hiroshima, Busan (S Korea), Sakaiminato, Kanazawa, & Sakata. Fly back to CA out of Narita 7/19. We have our hotel rooms. So advice in Kyoto? Tokyo? Getting around ports on the cruise (Princess provides zero accessible shore excursions)? Anything we must see anywhere near where we’ll be?
ModeratorJune 24, 2018 at 9:22 pm
On the website we have reviews of most attractions in Tokyo: https://www.accessible-japan.com/wheelchair-accessible-travel-destinations-and-tourist-attractions-in-tokyo/
And a growing number in Kyoto: https://www.accessible-japan.com/wheelchair-accessible-travel-destinations-and-tourist-attractions-in-kyoto/
So, you can check those out. What do you like? We can maybe make suggestions based on your interests!
As for the cruse, you may want to ask @twoboysmom00 who did a cruise (maybe the same one?) last year: https://www.accessible-japan.com/5-port-cruise-around-japan-in-a-wheelchair/
Looking forward to helping you!
MemberJune 25, 2018 at 5:54 am
My husband grew up in a largely Japanese American neighborhood (Gardena, CA) so he grew up with Japanese food and we both love it and are quite familiar with it. Any recommendations for accessible and awesome restaurants especially in Kyoto and Tokyo, but also any of the ports on our cruise (Hiroshima, Busan (S Korea), Sakaiminato, Kanazawa, Sakata) would be most welcome! Our friend wants to do a Kaiseki dinner in Tokyo. We are concerned about accessibility given the setting (tatami, low tables, etc). I can get out of my chair and can extend my legs out straight with back support but cannot cross my legs. Any recommendations?
We’re very interested in historic and cultural sites, temples, museums, architecture, gardens. We will be in Kyoto on July 7 for Tanabata Matsuri. Do you recommend going to Kodai-Ji?
We are also baseball fans. It would be cool to see Japanese baseball, but are unsure if we want to our limited time there seeing a ball game.
Regarding the cruise, I cannot go up steps so unlike the guy discussed by @twoboysmom00 , Princess says they will provide zero options for me. So any help regarding transportation on the port stops would be really helpful. (Hiroshima — definitely want to see nuclear bomb site and also Miyajima but we only have 7am-8pm–, Busan (S Korea), Sakaiminato, Kanazawa, Sakata)
ModeratorJune 25, 2018 at 8:20 pm
Would it be possible to make different threads for each location? ie start a new question for Hiroshima, a question for Kanazawa, a question for Kyoto etc
I’m afraid it will get too jumbled if we jump between restaurants in Kyoto, then transportation in Hiroshima etc in the same thread!
But I’ll answer the restaurants question in general. Kaiseki Ryori, is generally in very traditional ryotei restaurants that have stones leading up to them, steps, and tatami floors… so not wheelchair accessible. I would suggest looking at this page about how to find accessible restaurants: https://www.accessible-japan.com/wheelchair-accessible-restaurants-japan/. Gurinavi is very helpful!
Here is how to see a baseball game: https://www.tabifolk.com/forums/topic/baseball-tokyo-september/
OK, looking forward to seeing your questions for other cities!
ModeratorJune 26, 2018 at 11:13 am
Here are the Gurunavi results for wheelchair accessible kaiseki in Kyoto: https://gurunavi.com/en/all/kyoto/ct_rsfst02001?op=kods00181
And for Tokyo: https://gurunavi.com/en/all/tokyo/ct_rsfst02001?op=kods00181
So, there are more than I thought!
HOWEVER! As far as I understand, marking a restaurant as “wheelchair accessible” is left to the restaurant(/Gurunavi?) and is not thoroughly checked by people with disabilities. So, there is a possibility your idea of wheelchair accessible and the owner’s version of wheelchair accessible may not match…. Once in Japan, you may want to try Gurunavi’s English Reservation Support to ask for details.
MemberJune 27, 2018 at 1:17 pm
We spent most of June in Japan with our youngest child in a w/c (which we, parents, push for him). Honestly, the only restaurant we visited which was truly Accessible (in terms of smooth entry) was on Miyajima, and its bathroom was most decidedly not Accessible.
Now, many of the cafes / restaus we visited were on the second floor (with no elevator), and at every single one but one in Osaka the staff always wanted and were eager to help lift and carry. My son in a palanquin! I think he may have been a Shogun …. But these staffs made our trip so sweet, of course. I literally never had to ask for help — they always beat me to it, calling out to their coworkers to come and lift.
We were delighted and shocked (SHOCKED!) how Accessible many important sites are: I had not been to Kyoto and Hiroshima, for example, for twenty-five years. But now there is a clearly marked w/c path at Ryoan-ji (meditative rock garden) with w/c viewing area. I got teary when I saw it because it meant we could see it as a family. Note: you first have to go over a loose gravel path to get to the w/c path, which can be, let’s face it, a bear.
Fushimi Inari (the site with all those gorgeous vermilion torii stacked one atop another), just outside Kyoto, also has a completely umarked, invisible w/c Accessible path. We were well inside when we confronted with a long flight of stairs and no ramp: I asked at Information and she told me to go outside and then take an unmarked road (I am not making this up) up and over. Literally: “up and over” (in Japanese, though). So we went out and then, at the large gray (concrete) torii where the “don’t eat here” signs are posted, went up that road, up and over, but we probably should have gone a little more up and then over. Either way, we did make it in.
Hiroshima’s moving Peace museum, cenotaph, and Peace Dome are all very, very w/c Accessible, and boy do the staff inside the museum go out of their way to ensure you make your way right over to their elevator.
You know, what’s probably most important is that you have seriously sufficient rain protection: July is rainy season.
I don’t know in which country you reside, but if you have something legal and official which identifies you as disabled you will find your entry fee waived or substantially reduced in many, many places — being in your chair will not suffice. My child is only twelve years-old, profoundly I/DD, has absolute global aphasia, no ADLs, etc., and at many places I was asked for his “handicapped license.” I pointed to him and explained (in Japanese) that he’s twelve, and in the US he won’t have a “handicapped license” until he’s an adult (if then because it’s pretty clear just from looking at him and his sundry medical equipment that yeah, he’s shougaisha). Nearly every time the staff shrugged and waived his entrance fee.
Every single bus we rode in Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima was w/c Accessible, although often the driver stopped in such a wonky way he had to shift back and forth to get close enough to the curb for the ramp to work. Only some of Hiroshima’s famous street cars are Accessible (less than half), and those are the brand-new white ones displaying the universal blue / white disabled emblem.
I just thought of this: a lot of big department stores have food halls in the basement and numerous restaurants on the top floors. They have elevators so should be pretty Accessible. Takashimaya is pretty upscale, along with the depaatos in the Ginza, so I’ll bet you will have a wonderful time eating in those!
Have a wonderful trip, and KEEP DRY.
MemberJuly 6, 2018 at 3:50 am
I am “twoboysmom00” referenced above (real name is Kim :)). My husband is partially disabled, and used an electric wheelchair around Japan last fall. In regard to the Princess cruise excursions specifically, only the Adachi Museum and Garden was completely accessible for us (of the tours we took). Even then, my husband had to step out of his chair and climb on/off the bus. Unfortunately, I do not remember seeing any truly accessible busses connected with the cruise. However, we did see many others in wheelchairs headed off the ship when we got to the various ports, so my assumption is that there would be a way to do that (accessible taxi possibly? or maybe the excursions that use a van would work for you?). So sorry I’m not able to help more! However, Japan is such a wonderful country, and the people are so kind, I know you will have an amazing time no matter what. Bon Voyage!!
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