Travel With Mobility Scooter

  • Travel With Mobility Scooter

    Posted by Accessible Japan on October 6, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    From Lindajc on the Accessible Japan website:

    On a trip to Japan 4 years ago, I encountered major difficulties with Japan Rail regarding

    my electric mobility scooter.  I was eventually accommodated on all my journeys, but

    want to avoid problem when I return next month.  Since the Tokyo Olympics are only

    3 years off, I know they are working on this situation, but the apparently the old rules still apply.

    I think I can work with Japan Rail West by disassembling my scooter and reserving 30 days in advance.  However, I do not know if this the best solution for travel in the Kyoto area where we will be centered.

    Can someone tell me if there is any drive-on accessible transporation between Kansai Airport

    and Kyoto,  Osaka and Nara, and if  municipal transport in Osaka will take my scooter?

    We had no trouble on buses and subway in Tokyo and Kyoto, but have not been to

    Osaka and do not know what to expect.

    Thanks for any advice.

    Hi Lindajc,

    Thank you for your post and sorry to hear about your past troubles.

    For JR, you can use the following inquiry form to ask for help directly:

    Not only can they give you the most up-to-date advice, it will also help them to realize that travelers with mobility scooters are very interested in travelling in Japan and they need to adapt the trains to all mobility devices!

    Hankyu Railway (Osaka area) has similar rules and the website says that some stations cannot handle scooters. They only have a Japanese inquiry form:

    I couldn’t find anything on the Kyoto City Transportation website.

    From hearsay, things are much better than even a few years ago and people have visited in scooters with nearly no problems.  However, you still may unfortunately experience challenges at certain stations where they are inexperienced.  Buses may also be nearly impossible as there is very little room for turning around – and that seems to be the main reason the railways don’t like mobility scooters.

    If you are in a pinch for accessible transportation, accessible taxis are also available, but they are expensive.

    Since there are many types of scooters, could you please send an image or link to an image of your scooter model?

    I will ask some people from Osaka if they have ideas.

    Thanks for the quick reply!

    My scooter  is a Pacesaver plus III.  Below is a link to the picture and specs.

    Pacesaver Plus III

    I had no problems in Kyoto – either on the subway or on buses.

    Thanks for sharing that.

    My assumption is that there will not be much in terms of difference between Tokyo and Osaka.  JR West covers both areas, so, in theory it should be the same in terms of service/rules.  And, Hanshin has the same basic policy.  So… if you managed (with some hassle) a few years ago in Tokyo and Kyoto, it shouldn’t be worse, but hopefully better since time has passed.

    We would like to know this as well, so please share this page around and hopefully someone can answer!

    You might also want to get in touch with Melanie from Little Miss Turtle – she recently used a scooter in Japan:


    From Shirley Ho

    Hi Lindajc,

    Have you already traveled to Osaka, Kyoto, etc? If you had, would you kindly share your experience on traveling around your mobility scooter on trains and buses?




    Vir replied 4 years, 10 months ago 4 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • betsy

    June 8, 2018 at 7:44 am

    I recently tried to book a tour of Japan through Friendly Planet (a web-based travel company).  They told me that their affiliated tour companies in Japan would not accept my mobility scooter which is a Pride, Go-Go, a smaller sized one.  I have traveled to many countries both individually and with tour companies and have never had this problem before.  Thinking of going without a tour with my husband.  I know cabs are VERY expensive, but wonder if companies like Uber are more helpful. My scooter comes apart into pieces and fits in the trunk of a car or can be placed in a trunk by removing the seat. We have done this in many countries and, of course, always pay the driver extra for this service?  Anyone know about companies like Uber in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka?  If so, are there prices as bad as those of other cab companies in Japan?

    Thank you.


  • Accessible Japan

    June 8, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Hi Betsy,

    Friendly Planet doesn’t sound very friendly!

    First of all, you may want to look at this post about scooters:

    If it fits those standards, you should be able to use the scooter on the trains etc. Keep in mind though that scooters are fairly uncommon here and therefore some users have had difficulty with train staff who are not accustomed to them.

    As for Uber… Uber only exists as food delivery here and ride hailing is not yet a thing.  So, you will need a taxi.

    Also, I highly suggest you contact Ali Muskett (@ali_muskett on the forum), from Inside Japan Tours.  They offer an accessible tour package and believe they can arrange for transportation as part of that.

    Hope that helps!

  • Vir

    July 30, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    Are there updates/changes to laws easing up on the use and allowing mobility scooters, especially the compact and folding type? More so, with respect to the forthcoming Japan 2020….

  • Accessible Japan

    August 1, 2019 at 9:01 am

    From what I understand, things a better, but still not perfect…

  • Vir

    August 2, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    For the benefit of the members of this forum, i recently emailed JR Lines West regarding the use of mobility scooters (better known in Japan as handle type electric wheelchairs). They sent me the following useful and informative link-

     [Passengers in wheelchairs]

    Also, i provided them the specs and photos of the scooters i use e.g. Solax transformer automatic folding and the Brio S19 folding scooters for their evaluation/assessment. I still am awaiting their reply on this.

  • Accessible Japan

    August 5, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you so much for the information!

    Have you heard back about your specific scooter yet?

  • Vir

    August 5, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    It is my hope that mobility scooters will become popular and usable as acceptable means of transport, other than conventional wheelchairs.

    Will update you all on the reply of JR Lines West on my inquiry.

    More power to this site!

  • sjenigma11

    August 6, 2019 at 3:44 pm


    I am traveling to Japan and will require the mobility scooter for more than a month. Can anyone of you please suggest Mobility Scooter Rentals Companies in Japan and what are the corresponding rentals?

    I am not able to find any mobility scooter rentals company in Tokyo. Do they call it something else?



  • Accessible Japan

    August 6, 2019 at 3:56 pm


    You can send a request to us and we will send you contact information.

  • Vir

    August 6, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    Hi…yes they are known more as handle type electric wheelchairs in Japan. have a wonderful, rolling experience.

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