Getting around Osaka

  • Getting around Osaka

    Posted by Chica on February 17, 2024 at 11:13 am

    Hi all, newbie here! I hope some of you can help. I am (ambitiously) taking my mid-80s parents to Osaka for 5 days – I think this will their last overseas holiday sadly. My father has limited mobility & uses a walking stick but can only really manage 300-500m in one stretch. My mother has moderate dementia and cannot be left alone except in familiar surroundings.

    While the Accessible Japan website has information generally, it only has detailed info on how to access Osaka Castle. Can anyone provide any other suggestions for accessible sights in Osaka? I already have tickets for Umeda Sky Building & Harukas 300 as my parents like views and also teamLab Botanical Gardens. (Rest assured, we’ll be taxiing to these places.)

    I’ve also arranged a day trip to Kyoto with a guide in a private vehicle.

    Any tips/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. And if anyone knows if there is a trolley/golf cart at teamLab Botanical Gardens, that’d be amazing as I’ve not been able to find anything online. I know one option of accessing the Botanical Gardens would be to rent a wheelchair for my father but I don’t think he will accept it…

    Thanks in advance!!

    AsiaMarketMakers replied 4 months, 1 week ago 5 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • Carlos

    February 17, 2024 at 5:27 pm

    Is it safe for you to take your mom to another country in her condition? What if she wanders away when you’re not looking? Can she handle the flight? Does Japan approve all of the medication she can not live without? If she has a meltdown and has to be hospitalized, will her travel insurance cover the expenses? Can you handle both of your parents’ needs by yourself and still enjoy the trip? Or will you be having others join you to assist your parents?

    I would talk to your parents’ doctors first to see if they recommend this. If they don’t recommend that your parents take this trip, maybe you can recreate the experience at home.

    • Chica

      February 18, 2024 at 6:27 pm

      All your questions are ones I’ve asked and answered for myself and yes, their doctor knows.

  • Josh Grisdale

    February 18, 2024 at 11:38 am

    Hi Chica,

    Sorry, I live in Tokyo so the info for Osaka is a bit thin… though I do plan to add to it on Accessible Japan before the World Fair!

    I know @joanp lived in Osaka and that @Dicklaurent visited last year, so maybe they can provide more recent information.

    There are very few benches/places to rest in Japan, so instead of relying on the attractions having a cart etc, you might want to rent a manual wheelchair that can fold and fit into a regular taxi for the length of your trip. That way you always have a comfortable way for your dad to get around and if a place has a cart etc you can exchange it for that location.

    • Chica

      February 18, 2024 at 6:24 pm

      Hi Josh

      Thanks for your response and hopefully the two members you mention see this post & can provide some further insight.

      I’m more familiar with Japan than most tourists, having travelled there many times over the years and speak a bit of nihongo wa. I know that there are very few benches/seats to rest and while I did look at renting a wheelchair & would definitely consider it, there is no way my father would unfortunately. So my compromise (which he doesn’t know yet) is that I will be carrying with me a portable stool (normal height) for him.

      I did get a response back from teamLabs and they have wheelchairs at the entry. So I’m hoping that by then, I can convince him to use that *just* for that experience.



    • Joan Pahisa

      February 18, 2024 at 7:31 pm

      Hi Chica,

      Aside from the places that you’ve mentioned, I would consider visiting Shitennoji temple. It’s a 5-storey pagoda (you don’t need to go up and don’t have to walk much either inside the grounds), plus some side buildings. It was my first temple visit in Japan and I really enjoyed it. Depending on what you’re visiting in Kyoto, you may decide to see something different. Check the pictures and decide for yourself : ) A recommendation if you go, is to have or take away some steamed dumplings from the shop that’s at the beginning of the path leading to the huge stone torii at the main entrance.

      Another recommendation would be Sumiyoshi Taisha (here you need to walk a bit more and the ground is mostly gravel). It’s also a set of temples, but they are quite different from the rest in Japan.

      Then, I would suggest areas. For instance, I really like Shinsekai (small streets, a bit run down, and lots of restaurants around Tsutenkaku Tower). It’s not far by taxi or bus from Shitennoji, so you could squeeze the two on the same day.

      Most probably you will also be going to Dotonbori area (the neon lights district). There you may take a boat through the Dotonbori canal, which is a nice way to sightsee without walking. I never took it, because there were some steps leading to the boats. Nevertheless, the walkways next to the canal are very beautiful and tend to be less crowded than the streets above.

      These would be my recommendations, aside from Harukas 300 and Umeda Sky (I’ve not gone to the Botanical Gardens, so I will next time!). If you want more places, near the port there is the Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel and the Osaka Aquarium.

      Finally, you can check some pictures and accessibility info on all these places on my Instagram account @joan_pahisa.

      I hope you will enjoy your trip to Osaka!

    • Chica

      February 18, 2024 at 7:47 pm

      Hi Joan

      Many thanks for all the info! I’ve got to check in with my parents about temples, I’ve found this to be a bit hit & miss with them on various occasions 🤷‍♀️ (Great tip on the dumplings tho!)

      I had Shinsekai & Tsutenkaku Tower on my “maybe” list, so thank you for that. (I’m hoping to do the Tsutenkaku Slide!) And yes, Dotonbori also on the list specifically of the boat trip but I was going to skip the port area, seemed a bit of a hike. We’re staying in Kitahama and I was trying to restrict our movements to one subway/metro ride with no changes or easy taxi.

      Again, many thanks! 🙏🏼

    • Joan Pahisa

      February 19, 2024 at 9:21 pm

      Hi Chica!

      Yes, going to the port area is a bit of a hassle with different transport changes. You’re staying at a great place with good transport options (the brown line may get you directly to Shinsekai and the red line mostly everywhere!).

      I hope you enjoy your trip! We’re here if you need anything else : )

  • Chica

    February 25, 2024 at 11:46 am

    Thanks for all the tips & wishes Joan! Much appreciated 🙂

  • AsiaMarketMakers

    March 9, 2024 at 5:42 pm

    Hi Chica,

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Osaka. The trains are great and can arrange special assistance if needed at the stations. Also, I’d highly recommend using Japan Taxis. They have an app where you can book taxis. Some hotels have shuttle buses from stations such as Osaka to their hotels.

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