Trip to Japan in March

  • Trip to Japan in March

    Posted by astrogrrl on January 13, 2019 at 1:16 am

    In march I will be traveling to Japan from Australia.  This is something I have dreamed of doing for over a decade.  However I am a bit nervous as I can not walk or stand at all and require an electric wheelchair.  We will also have our 2 year old twin sons with us. Luckily my in-laws are coming to help us.


    So far the plan is to start in Tokyo (Akihabara) and also spend time in Kyoto from where we hope to do day trips to both Osaka and Hiroshima.  My partner really wants to go to Takayama as well for a few days. Then a couple more days in Tokyo before leaving.

    Does anyone know if this will be feasible? We are coming from the 10th to 25th March. I am assuming that both Tokyo and Kyoto being major cities will be accessible, but what about Takayama? What is the best way to get there?



    caylarichards replied 5 years, 2 months ago 6 Members · 16 Replies
  • 16 Replies
  • Accessible Japan

    January 13, 2019 at 1:00 pm


    Aside from Takayama, everything should be fine.  Takayama, on the otherhand will likely be very difficult I believe due to transportation, both getting there and moving around once there…

    Does your power wheelchair fold at all?

    I can look up specific things if you like, so please tell me what you would like to do and I can check around!

  • Accessible Japan

    January 13, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    Sorry, you can get the train there:

    From Nagoya:

    From Kyoto:

    From Tokyo:

    If you just put it into Google Maps, it will likely suggest a highway bus – these are not accessible.

    Would you be ok with a wheelchair taxi while you are there?

    • astrogrrl

      January 15, 2019 at 10:10 am

      Thankyou so much for your time and help with everything.

  • Accessible Japan

    January 13, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    @joanp , you went to Shirakawa-go, right?  How was wheelchair accessin that area?

  • Accessible Japan

    January 13, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    Sorry for all the emails!

    I sent an email to Takayama city about the accessibility of the local buses.  It is a holiday here until tuesday, so it may be a while before I get a reply.

    This wheelchair taxi company offers a tour of the main locations for 24,700 yen.

  • Joan Pahisa

    January 13, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    Hi Wendy!

    Takayama is one of the best towns to visit on a wheelchair. Here are my Instagram posts on the trip that I did there.

    As Josh said, there’s no problem to access Takayama by train. I went there from Nagoya.

    As for hotels, I stayed at the Country Hotel Takayama, I can’t remember if they had a room with a wheelchair accessible toilet. I can stand up, so as long as the hotel is step free I can manage. The hotel was accessible through a side entrance at ground level where you took an elevator to the lobby floor.

    I’ve seen that there’s also a Best Western Hotel near the station, so it may be a better option. I don’t know if they have wheelchair accessible rooms. You should contact them beforehand.

    While in Takayama, don’t miss Takayama Jinya. From the outside it seems that it’s not wheelchair accessible, but if you ask at the ticket place they deploy a slope (a pretty steep one, though) for you to access. It’s one of the only tatami-floor building that I’ve been able to access with the wheelchair.

    As for Shirakawago, here are my couple Instagram post on it.

    The buses that I took from Kanazawa to Shirakawago and from Shirakawago to Takayama were not wheelchair accessible. I don’t know if there are any accessible buses from Takayama. Hopefully Josh will get the answer. I’d suggest an accessible taxi, although it might be really expensive. I did a fast search from Takayama Jinya to Shirakawago and the price is around 16000 yen (one-way).

    Once in Shirakawago you can stroll around without problems as there are no sidewalks (only from the bus station to the main street). The thing is that I couldn’t find any wheelchair accessible houses to enter. The town, though, is really beautiful just from the outside. I really enjoyed my time there just wheeling around. There’s an accessible toilet at the bus station and, to eat, there’s a wheelchair accessible noodle restaurant on the main street.

    I went there in May. I wonder if there may be snow during March. In all, I spent there around 3 hours. In Takayama I stayed a night.

    Anyway, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask : ) I’m sure that you’ll really enjoy your trip to Japan!


    • astrogrrl

      January 15, 2019 at 10:13 am

      @JoanP  thankyou so much for all the infomation and help. It looks like Takayama is certainly worth the difficulty getting there since it is a bit further out.

    • astrogrrl

      March 15, 2019 at 10:21 am

      We are in Takayama right now but having trouble finding a wheelchair accessible way to get to Shirakawa Go.  Buses are a no go as you have to get out of wheelchair.  Does anyone know if there is  a wheelchair taxi.


  • Melanie

    January 14, 2019 at 1:49 am

    @joanp Thank you for these amazing photos and the detailed accessibility info! I just had to follow you on IG! Takayama and Shirakawago are still on my bucket list. I can’t wait to visit these beautiful spots during my next trip to JP.

  • Accessible Japan

    January 14, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    @joanp was the train from Nagoya to Takayama a reserved seating train (ie would need to book the accessible seat in advance), or just a regular train?

  • Joan Pahisa

    January 14, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    The line is JR Hida. If I remember correctly, there was a wheelchair space in the reserved seats area. I did reserve in advance and I think it’s better to do so. The only problem is the extra schedule planning, but well, I think we are all used to it! : )

  • Accessible Japan

    January 15, 2019 at 11:33 am

    OK, I got a reply from Takayama city saying some buses are accessible, others aren’t.  Not terribly helpful.

    However, they gave me the phone number for the bus operator, Nohi Bus.  I called them and the bus to Shirakawa-Go is definitely not accessible.  The only option would be for people who can fold their wheelchair and walk up the steps.  (And not every bus has a luggage compartment to store a wheelchair.)

    The local buses are also not all accessible, but some are.  They can arrange to have a certain bus be the accessible one if you call in advance (only for the local bus, not the one to Shirakawa-Go).  The phone number is 0577-32-1160.  But since I’m pretty sure none of them speak English, I suggest that before going, you ask one of your hotels in Osaka/Kyoto/Tokyo help with the call.

    That being said, it may be much less stressful (though more expensive) to hire the accessible taxi for the day so you can go everywhere…

    Sorry for the bad news.

    • astrogrrl

      January 25, 2019 at 10:07 pm

      What would the likely cost be to hire a wheelchair taxi for the day?  Are there wheelchair accessible cars that can be hired for longer periods or for single trips?

  • Accessible Japan

    January 25, 2019 at 11:04 pm

    The place I found had a 3hr route for 18,600 yen, a 4hr route for 24,700 yen, and 4.5hr route (including Shirakawa-go) for 27,800 yen.

    Here is the site:

    As for renting, they do exist, but I think @wilgo checked and one place required a Japanese license…

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