MemberFebruary 23, 2018 at 5:55 am
I would like to ask if it is worth it, for a wheelchair user, to buy the JR Rail Pass. My concern is that as a wheelchair user you will need a wheelchair seat in the Shinkansen for example, so will you be able to use it whenever you want, or you will be denied boarding in case the space is occupied? And if this is the case, how the Pass can be used?
ModeratorFebruary 23, 2018 at 11:32 am
In short: Yes it is worth it if you plan on traveling on the shinkansen.
It essentially pays for itself if you go from Tokyo to Kyoto and back. Also, you can use it on regular JR trains anywhere in Japan.
However, as not all Green Cars are wheelchair accessible, it is not worth getting the more expensive Green Car JR Pass since you may end up in the standard area anyway.
For travelers in wheelchairs, there are three options:
Private room – this can accommodate one wheelchair user and two companions. It is considered a reserved seat. You must book the room in advance at a Midori no Madoguchi ticket counter, JR recommends 2 days in advance.
Wheelchair space – in the reserved seating car there are a few seats removed to make a wheelchair space. In reality, there is room for one power wheelchair.
You can buy this seat (if it is available) at any time (reserve, or just before going). But if you wait too long, it may be in use when you want to go.
“Deck” – the deck is the area of the train without seating where the doors, toilets etc are. While there are decks on all of the train carriages, only one door is wide enough to allow for wheelchairs to get on/off so you will be in the area near the private room and reserved wheelchair space anyway – just sitting in the hallway by the door. I think 2-3 wheelchairs could fit on the deck.
So, even if the reserved seats are taken, you can still ride the shinkansen, but you will need to sit in the deck area.
If you go on the deck, you may want to confirm with JR it is OK to have more than two wheelchairs there because the food trolley must get through etc, they may have rules. You can email JR here:
You can see some pictures here:
Hope this helps!
MemberFebruary 23, 2018 at 8:41 pm
Thanks for the detailed reply ^_^
So it is almost impossible to be denied boarding if space is available, as the deck is also an option, right? Because in the Keisei Skyliner for example, or a train I used to go from Tokyo to Hakone, to stay on the deck was not permitted.
ModeratorFebruary 24, 2018 at 9:28 am
Yes, I believe so for the Shinkansen. I have ridden in the deck before and know another wheelchair user who only rides in the deck. The only thing to check is that if there are multiple wheelchair users it might be different. You should also contact JR to be sure.
Also, if you are going from Tokyo to Kyoto or Osaka, there are trains every 10 minutes, so, it is highly unlikely that all of them would be full! Even if you have to go separately, you will only arrive a few minutes apart.
The safest option is to go to a Midori no Madoguchi 2 days before you plan to ride the train. They are in most big JR stations.
MemberFebruary 24, 2018 at 6:00 pm
Great then 🙂 Thnx again for all the information ^_^
ModeratorFebruary 24, 2018 at 7:49 pm
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