I am a mobility scooter user

  • I am a mobility scooter user

    Posted by Tara on May 5, 2024 at 3:17 pm

    I have partial paralysis and use a gogo pride 3 wheel scooter which fits the requirements for the trains/subways in Japan but I’m not going to lie, I’m freaking out. I had gotten my tickets before looking into accessibility because I never even considered the fact they’d just not allow my mobility scooter on. I’ve been trying to research all the stations/trains etc to see which ones I can even use, but it’s so overwhelming even without adding in the mobility issues. It’s not even like there’s a storage option (my scooter breaks down into pretty small compact pieces) it’s just a “ that stinks for you” deal. I know this is a semi rant/panic post but I’m hoping there is someone who’s been in my position?

    If it helps, I’m starting from the narita airport to Tokyo, Tokyo to Kyoto, Kyoto to Osaka, and Osaka to hakune.

    This is supposed to be a dream trip but I’m just sort of feeling discouraged because of something outside of my control.

    AsiaMarketMakers replied 1 month, 1 week ago 6 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Mark

    May 5, 2024 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Tara,

    Rest easy, in my opinion you’ll be fine. I’m in Tokyo as I write this and am navigating the rails relatively well. Of course there will be a learning curve the first few trips but Japan has got a pretty solid system going.

    I’m in a Permobil M3, it’s 38in long and I belive the GoGo is almost same length. Just work on your quick turns and driving skills to maneuver into, within and out of the subway car. Expect some cars to be full and the possibility of waiting for the next subway. Thus far, I haven’t had to wait because this society is quite respectful and will move aside.

    After buying the subway ticket you will go to the agent and request for a ramp. I showed them a picture to clarify and also used Google translate. From there the agent will direct you to wait on the side for another staff to escort you to the subway line and place ramp on floor to enter subway car safely. They will also ask for your final destination and there will be a staff at that point to assist with an exit ramp. If you have a connection then the same occurs.

    I can try to take pics to ease your mind. And can write more when I’m back home in 2 weeks.

  • Jul

    May 5, 2024 at 4:11 pm


    I thlnk that trains are very accessible.

    When You arrive, you can ask for assistance and one agent of the train Will help you.

    It’ s very Easy, you will appreciate.

    Good trip

  • Josh Grisdale

    May 5, 2024 at 7:13 pm

    I’m not sure if you saw this, but hopefully it will be an encouragement:


    Perhaps the author @gobyscooter can reply.

  • Anne

    May 6, 2024 at 12:11 am

    Hi Tara,

    I took my 3-wheel Pride GoGo Traveller Elite mobility scooter to Japan, and it worked out great!

    The people of Japan are so kind, and service is of utmost importance. Everyone was very accommodating. I always gave myself a little extra time at each major transportation spot.

    We did ride the bullet train from Tokyo to Hiroshima and then from Hiroshima to Osaka. The stationmasters didn’t want me to drive on the train platform itself, but in the station and up to the platform was fine. Up at the platform, I switched my scooter into manual mode using that yellow lever near the wheels, and my husband pushed me. We were not stopped at all or prevented from riding the train.

    If you can walk at all, one option is to reserve certain seats in the main cars that have an extra storage area. My scooter fit perfectly. I did not have to take it apart. Getting on the train in Tokyo, my husband was able to lift the scooter up over the lip into the train and roll it into that spot right near the entrance. I used my walking cane and his help to get in and to my seat. In Hiroshima and Osaka, the platform and train are at the same level so it just rolled in, though I did not ride it in. Attached is a photo of our seats and my scooter.

    If you cannot walk a short distance, the trains do have an accessible car. I did not use this, but I know there is an attendant and a special ramp they put down to help you get in.

    At each station there is an accessible ticket area you enter through. Be sure to reserve seats ahead. You can always talk to someone in the station as well, and they will help you.

    The first time you get on the train is the most stressful because there is a short boarding window, but after the first time, you’ll feel like a pro.

    I have a number of other scooter-related tips from my trip to Japan last year that I included in this article: https://www.accessible-japan.com/go-global-traveling-in-japan-with-a-mobility-scooter/

    • AsiaMarketMakers

      May 12, 2024 at 10:59 pm

      Mostly they are! Unfortunately I experienced horrendous disability discrimination by a hospital in Kawasaki, at some hotels & from ANA, who refused to accept my disabilities. Now I won’t fly ANA.

  • Tara

    May 6, 2024 at 12:38 am

    You guys are amazing and really helped put my mind at ease! I was reading so much that was saying scooters may not be allowed on certain trains, etc. and it just made me so anxious/panic. I can walk a short distance so knowing they’ll just let me push it behind the seats is amazing. I also planned on having my doctor write a note with their signature and putting it into Japanese for the attendants if it was needed

    • Josh Grisdale

      May 6, 2024 at 12:08 pm

      Sounds like a good plan. Even if it isn’t a note from the doctor, thinking of some things you might expect to say regularly (“I cannot walk and need the scooter for mobility because of a disability” etc) and have them ready to show can be helpful.

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