Transportation Improvement Ideas?

  • Transportation Improvement Ideas?

    Posted by Kathleen on July 17, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    Hi, I’m a chronically ill student working on a project at Tokyo Tech this Summer about transportation accessibility. I was wondering if I could crowd source some input from the disabled community. How do you think Japan’s transportation system could improve and be more accessible? I appreciate any ideas, no matter how small or optimistic. Thanks!

    Josh Grisdale replied 5 years, 10 months ago 4 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Accessible Japan

    July 17, 2018 at 3:42 pm


    Welcome to the forum!

    In addition to making routes easier to find and use (try finding the entrance to a subway station that has an elevator without wandering around for a bit!), more acceptance of buggy wheelchairs (ask @duxinco) and mobility scooters is needed before the Olympics.

    Also, as @hannekedeenengmail-com can attest to, taking equipment like hoists between cities is nearly impossible.

    A dream would be to not need ramps to get on/off as well 🙂

    Oh, and highway buses / bus tours are out of the question as well.


    Hope you get some good answers!

  • Joan Pahisa

    July 27, 2018 at 2:28 am

    Hi Kathleen!

    Let me add one more thing that should be improved transportation wise. It may seem trivial, but it actually isn’t. It’s the way to purchase wheelchair seats for long distance trains in Japan. It’s something that was changed during this year and it’s become quite troublesome.

    First of all, accessible seats cannot be purchased online, as everyone does. This wasn’t possible either a few months ago, but it would be really nice as it’s something that technically shouldn’t be a problem. At least I’ve purchased accessible seating for lots of transportation online in many countries.

    Second, you actually need to go to a train station with a Midori Madoguchi. If it’s a small station you go to a regular window, but in bigger stations you need to go to a special counter or even a special place or a special room. Then you need to do the reservation in Japanese and if you’re lucky the whole process takes around 30 minutes, as they apparently need to do many phone calls. If you’re not lucky, it can take around an hour or they may tell you that you need to come back sometime else as they cannot reach someone on the phone (I’ve had all these experiences myself).

    As you can see, it’s a long and tedious process, aside from the fact that you need to speak Japanese, that makes making plans and purchasing tickets quite difficult. All this process is the same for changing tickets, so you can imagine…

    Many places in Japan expect that a disabled person will never travel alone, so this notion is something that needs to be changed. Another thing that should be understood is that lots of people have custom-made mobility devices and renting is not always an option. Therefore, for foreign travellers the laws on allowed mobility devices should be more flexible. Josh already pointed everything else out, so these are my ideas on it.

    Hopefully they were of some help! Good luck with the project!

  • Josh Grisdale

    July 27, 2018 at 10:38 am


    Yup, had the 1hr wait and then “come back tomorrow” experience (again) this week… and I speak fluent Japanese.

    Definitely something that needs to improve!  Thanks @JoanP!

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