Reserveation possible for ko-shitsu and assistence with JR Rail Pass

  • Reserveation possible for ko-shitsu and assistence with JR Rail Pass

    Posted by hfbnetherlands on May 28, 2018 at 11:49 am

    I ll travel with my husband (manual wheelchair, brother and myself) and would like to make a reservation in advance for skinhansen , ko-shitsu and assistance to get on and off.

     Tokyo- Shinjuku- Hiroshima
    Hiroshima -Kyoto
    Kyoto -Nagoya
     Nagoya -Tokyo Nikko Narita Airport

    I tried by sending an email to JRWest and informed them about those trips and specific date and time (approx.).

    This is wat I got back:

    The railway company of the station you will start your travel will make the arrangements such as assistance for a wheelchair and application for the multi-purpose room (Koshitu) basically.

    We are afraid that Shinjuku station is under the jurisdiction of JR East, not JR West. We apologize for the inconvenience, but please contact JR East listed below:

    -JR-EAST (English)
    http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/

    -JR East feedback & inquiries (Japanese)
    https://voice2.jreast.co.jp/user_input.aspx

    Now I don’t know what I have to do…

    The East form is in Japanese… and there are two trips starting in West…. but they did not say anything about those trips… will they or will they not arrange this… I asked this question too ansd got an answer in Japanese..

    so maybe someone can tell me:

    • will it at all be possible to arrange ko-shitsu and assistance in advance?
    • do I have to arrange all trips when we are in Japan at the first trainstation where we depart? (so Nikko Narita Airport where we will pick up our JR Pass)?
    • Is it is possible te arrange in advance with JR East: do they have a form in English?
    • Is it thrue dat the first station can arrange all the trips, even the two Hiroshima -Kyoto and Kyoto -Nagoya whose start in ‘West’?

     

    I hope there is someone who nows all or some answers…

    Best Regards!

    Heleen

    hfbnetherlands replied 4 years, 1 month ago 3 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • Accessible Japan

    Moderator
    May 28, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Hello Heleen,

    Unfortunately, JR East and JR West are different companies so it can be a bit confusing as to which to go to!  You can book all your trips at the same time, but you cannot book JR East at a JR West ticket company or vice versa.

    From what you list, I think you only need to book with JR West.

    I believe you can use the JR Pass to book the ko-shitsu room.  However, the are only two ways to book the ko-shitsu on the Shinkansen:

    • By phone – but it is only Japanese!
    • In person – go to a “Midori no Madoguchi” and book at the ticket window.  You can book up to one month in advance, so I suggest that after you arrive, go to a Midori no Madoguchi and then book that way.  I think you may need to go to Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station to book.

    I wish there was an email to book it, because I would use it too!  But I have lived in Japan for 10 years and I still need to go to the ticket window to book.  I understand that they are getting better, but, still need to improve!

    Hope this helps.

  • hfbnetherlands

    Member
    May 30, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks a lot, I ‘ll wait till we are in Japan. Best regards, Heleen

  • Accessible Japan

    Moderator
    May 30, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Really wish it was easier – for myself as well!

  • duxinco

    Member
    June 27, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Don’t know if you’ve already gone on your trip,  but we got home yesterday from 3+ weeks traveling around Japan mostly via JR.

    Our youngest son, who turned 12 (!) during this trip, is multiply, profoundly disabled, medically fragile / complex, severely I/DD. For travel, we have a light (-er) weight red Convaid w/c with sun bonnet which we (parents) push: both for motor planning and cognitive reasons our son is unable to participate in rolling (in any of his ADLs, really).

    Okay, I explain my angel so you can picture a human unable to participate in any self-advocacy, and who is a child, an appropriately sized 12 year-old, but not an adult independently manipulating their own chair.

    My Japanese is so-so: for a tourist it is excellent, but for a resident of Japan (which I’m not — live in the US Rocky Mountains) it needs work. I had contacted JR over a year before our trip to ensure Accessibility throughout the nation (for example, no elevator at JR Nikko, but they have a special stair machine), and to ascertain that a regular JR Pass would be good for my child. I spoke in both English and Japanese with JR folks about these. I was told that in order to get the kurumaisu seat we would have to get it at the station from which we were departing, and not the day of travel.

    At the JR counter in Ueno as I was planning our day trip up to Tochigi I was told my child is not entitled to a kurumaisu seat because he is a child. This makes no sense, of course, as he is not an infant or toddler in a stroller purchased from Babies-R-Us! He is 80lbs and 4’7″ long. But that’s what we were told. So for that trip we just went with non-reserved seats and relied on the kindness of those seated nearby to adjust so my husband and I could sit near our youngest (our eldest is 13, so he was delighted to sit by himself for a bit).

    Then at Tokyo eki I was told my son could jot have a kurumaisu seat because they are reserved for shougaisha  (handicapped). Um …. So I explained, in Japanese, my son’s myriad disabilities, and was shut down because my son doess not have a Japanese Disabled certificate. She (JR lady)  then told me the kurumaisu seats are only for nihonjin — Japanese people. I told her that’s not true and asked to speak to the supervisor;  she refused. I asked another JR reservation agent and they would not get involved. We had already been at that counter for an hour, kids were bored, so I gave up for that day. (But in my head I was furiously swearing at those idiots.) They were wrong, but you know what? My children are hapa (half-Japanese) as their father is issei, first-generation Japanese.

    In Takayama eki we were told the same thing by a station guide (who held the slope), that kurumaisu seats are only for Japanese. He then tried to wrestle my son’s chair away from my husband to shove it down a too-narrow passage on the train. I yelled, in Japanese, for help,  and the conductor ran right over and argued with the station guide. He placed my son in the kurumaisu seat with my huband in the seat adjacent,  and he apologized to my older son and me that he did not have two more seats right there (we sat seven rows back — it was fine, of course).

    The BEST JR reservation experience we had was in small Hiroshima eki; five different agents were involved (they were all young, so I think it was novel for them),  and it not only took more than one hour, they needed the supervisor to okay it (the kurumaisu is seats, Hiroshima-Shin-Osaka, Shin-Osaka-Tokyo, Tokyo-Narita), so asked me to return the following day.

    My son and his daddy did have the private room. It worked out well because the (uncomfortable) bench folds into a bed; my son had a GTC (formerly called grand mal seizure) shortly after we got on that train, so we made the bed for him to have a postictal nap. Now, in case you don’t know, the private room is not only very loud (not insulated as well as the passenger saloons), it is very noisy from people talking on their mobile phones, using the restroom, mothers with crying babies, all outside your door.  I was told JR prefers to keep the private room for nursing mothers. That’s what I was told, but I don’t know.

    In Kyoto while getting ice cream I saw a darling young woman, Cuban, in a self-operated motorized w/c. I chatted with her (traveler, like we were), and she said that while it did always take a while to get her reservation, she did always get a kurumaisu seat. Granted, she was not traveling with others (as your and my families are / did), so sitting with someone was not are priority for her.

    So, super-long story that our experience was: in person at the station, hopefully with an informed, capable reservation agent, and to have the w/c passenger there so they can see and accommodate.

     

    Good luck!

  • Accessible Japan

    Moderator
    June 27, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Dear @duxinco,

    I am SO sorry about the horrible experience you had.  I’m not sure if I want to cry or shout in anger.

    Your story illustrates that there is really a lack of understanding as to what constitutes “disabled” and that the common thinking is “disabled = wheelchair”.  And while the disability discounts are only available to people with a disability pass, the accessible seats are open to any nationality.

    I don’t know what you did after your return, but would you like to peruse this in some way?  A formal complaint to JR, or a newspaper article?  If so I can try to help get you connected.

  • duxinco

    Member
    June 27, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    You’re very dear — thank you for your kind note. I will, eventually, get back in touch with JR North America both to tell them of the nonsense (and I will be naming names) but also to tell them of the wonderful, kind, helpful JR employees (and I will also be naming names). We’ve not been home for 30 hours, so I’m giving myself time.

    Chatting with one JR employee, an older woman, she told me her sister-in-law has (later-in-life onset) MS so is now FT in a motorized chair. We talked about how grateful we are for all those who came before us, who broke down barriers, who paved the way, who made the impossible possible for us. I know JR has a ways to go, but in truth, they have already come so far in terms of Accessibility and knowledge and helpfulness.

    And I have to say, the ostomy bathrooms and nursing lounges we encountered across the country were *fantastic*! They enabled us to do a standing diaper change on our child (if it’s a standing change it takes two strong adults — one to hold with arms and body, and the other to support with shoulders whilst performing the actual change). If it’s merely disabled access within the gender-assigned restroom, then we are in bad luck as I cannot enter the men’s and my husband cannot enter the ladies’ (obviously), and the baby changing tables are neither big nor sturdy enough. And those ostomy bathrooms / nursing lounges are nearly everywhere. What a dream!!!

    Thank you for the support in contacting JR NAmerica. I will post a new thread (if appropriate) to say what I was told / learned.

  • Accessible Japan

    Moderator
    June 27, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Yikes, you must still be getting over your trip – thank you for taking the time to share.  Please do tell us what happens.

    I also noticed another theme – the differences between the JR companies.  It seems most issues come from JR East (Tokyo to Aomori).  I use a power wheelchair and have no issues getting the private room when going from Tokyo to Kyoto etc (actually just used it on the weekend to go to Nagoya), but going to Tohoku I am always told it is for those who become sick or need to breastfeed, not for wheelchair users.  So, there is a real difference in policy.  This may explain (but certainly not justify!) the difference between your experiences in Tochigi vs Hiroshima.

    Yes, the toilets here are amazing.  When I was young back in my home country, always had difficulty when going somewhere with my mother!

    Anyway, thank you again for sharing.

  • hfbnetherlands

    Member
    July 16, 2018 at 1:07 am

    Dear Duxinco

    I am very sorry to hear about your experience. We have been very recent and had greath experience. Maybe it is beacause of the age of my husband, or the time of the year, it was very quiet everywhere.

    I wish you all the best.. good, luck and I hope you will have better experiences during your next trip, wherever you ‘ll go..

    Heleen

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