wearing leg braces and shoes inside

  • wearing leg braces and shoes inside

    Posted by judy on November 12, 2022 at 7:52 am

    I have booked a trip in spring 2023. I assumed there would be temples I could not enter because I need the braces for balance. I did buy shoe covers in the hope that I could wear them at other places inside. I cannot walk without the braces except for short distances inside. The tour includes a ryokan stay. I think I can manage the walking and am happy to entertain myself when I cannot. But now I wonder if I will miss out on too many things because I can’t remove my braces/shoes even if I bring shoe covers. Does anyone have any experience with this?

    AsiaMarketMakers replied 10 months, 3 weeks ago 4 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • schroth-sensei

    November 12, 2022 at 9:28 am


    You should be able to find many places you can visit, even temples where you don’t need to cover your shoes. However, giving some examples depends on your location, so where you are staying at in Japan?

    From my personal experience (I use a wheelchair), I have visited temples that are very accessible (such as Sensoji in Asakusa and Todaiji in Nara) and was able to see almost everything easily, as well as others (like Tokeijin in Kamakura) that may be partly accessible but with the main temple accessible only by a long flight of stairs. Many of these didn’t require shoes to be removed/covered, but the ones that do are usually pretty helpful (e.g Sanjusangendoin Kyoto has no steps, but requires clean feet/tires, and for wheelchairs they’ll help clean the tires prior to entry).

    If you haven’t already, you can also find a many reviewed locations at our sister site: https://www.accessible-japan.com/wheelchair-accessible-travel-destinations-and-tourist-attractions-in-japan/


  • judy

    November 12, 2022 at 8:40 pm

    Thank you Justin. I will be in Tokyo (Imperial Palace,Meiji Jingu Shrine), Fuji-Hakone-Izu (ryokan), Takayama, Shirakawago Gassho-zukuri Village, Kanazawa, Kyoto (Kinkaku-ji Temple, Ryoan-ji, Nijo-jo Castle, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Sanjyusangendo Hall). I assumed that covering shoes would be acceptable in non-sacred sites, but wasn’t sure about temples and other sacred places.

    Any further advice would be much appreciated. I intend to take a walking piece as well for uneven ground.

    • schroth-sensei

      November 13, 2022 at 7:21 am


      Your trip sounds exciting and packed full of fun stuff. Here are some suggestions and details I can provide.

      -Tokyo: All the Trains and Metro can be daunting at first, but because of them it is super easy and quick to get around this mega-city. Stations can get very busy around work rush hours, but if you work around that (often the next train is a 2-min. wait) you can avoid the crowds.

      -Imperial Palace: The grounds are fairly flat and has cobblestone paths, though you can go on the gravel up to the castle moat for a closer look. Some of the other areas do have hills to access but even without seeing those the area is nice to visit. Just don’t expect to access the inner grounds, they are generally closed to the public.

      -Meiji Jingu Shrine: The main pathway here has a beautiful canopy of trees with paved walkways next to gravel, only issue may be that it is rather long (700m) and may be a bit of a walk before you can find a seat to rest on. The shrine itself is very accessible.

      -Takayama & Shirakawago: Looks very accessible, I found some nice info here: https://www.japan-accessible.com/city/takayama.htm

      -Kanazawa: Looks very accessible, I found some nice info here: https://www.japan-accessible.com/city/kanazawa.htm

      -Kyoto: Mass transit trains are not as dense here, expect to get around by car, bus, or taxi. It is also more hilly than Tokyo.

      -Kinkaku-ji Temple: One of my personal favorites, while you can’t go in the building itself, the outside is arguably the best views anyway. The paths are compacted gravel and shouldn’t be much of an issue (I went in the rain even and it wasn’t really an issue in my wheelchair). Part of the garden section is accessible by stairs, however, you can still see all angles of Kinkaku-ji and avoid the step-portion.

      -Ryoan-ji: I wanted to visit this location, however there are many steps required to access it making it not possible for my wheelchair. I think you can avoid some steps via the parking lot, but not sure. Please let us know if this has changed.

      -Nijo-jo Castle: This should be accessible, gravel being the biggest issue for most outside areas (some steps in part of the garden). Rest areas are available, you may need to cover your shoes in the temple or use a loaner wheelchair if you want to avoid that.

      -Fushimi Inari Shrine: Lots of slopes and steps in this area, avoiding steps and the climb up the mountain will cut out a lot of the area, though it is still nice to see just a portion of the Torii. More access details here: https://www.accessible-japan.com/places/japan/kyoto/kyoto/attractions/fushimi-inari-shrine/

      -Sanjyusangendo Hall: Shouldn’t be an issue, just have to cover your feet or use a loaner wheelchair if you want to avoid that (then take your time while seated).

      Some places you may want to consider if you can break from the tour…

      -Kabukiza (Ginza, Tokyo area): If you are curious about traditional Japanese theater, I’d recommend checking it out. It’s very accessible, and you can get a audio commentary device that explains the play in English (or in Japanese, you’ll see many people using them).

      -Kiyomizu-dera (Kyoto): I highly recommend this temple, a section of the path getting to it is a bit steep (or stairs if you prefer), but is well worth the views from the temple. Likewise, the temple itself is a wonderful example of Traditional Japanese Architecture and design. More access details here: https://www.accessible-japan.com/places/japan/kyoto/kyoto/attractions/kiyomizu-dera/

      -Arashiyama Bamboo Grove (Kyoto): This bamboo forest and the few temples along the way may interest you.


      If you have a collapsible wheelchair (or can borrow one), you may want to consider bringing it along (assuming you have a caregiver to push or can roll around yourself). You can always leave it in your room if you don’t need it for the day. Other than being a mobile seat to rest your feet, you may actually find it easier to get around in the Tokyo train stations. Instead of going through the turnstiles, you’ll go to a staff desk on the side and they’ll actually ask where you’re going and assist you getting on and off your train. Plus being a collapsible wheelchair, it shouldn’t stop you from stowing it in a trunk using a taxi if necessary.

      Anyway, I hope that helps,


    • judy

      November 14, 2022 at 12:13 am

      Dear Justin,

      Thank you so much for this additional information. You have been quite helpful in addressing my concerns and anxiety, it sounds like Japan is more flexible about our needs than I anticipated. My problem is also balance, so the even walking will not present a problem and I will need to address the uneven ones!

      I am now comfortable going ahead with plans for this trip. I will definitely keep you posted after my experience.

      I am very happy to be connected to TabiFolk–what a great resource!


    • schroth-sensei

      November 14, 2022 at 3:22 am


      Glad I could help.

      At the time of my first trip, I had very few resources to plan and prepare with, but I made due with what I could find. So, I was similarly concerned on my first trip to Japan, but after the first day that was replaced with amazement. Nevertheless it would of been easier to plan if I had more info, so I’m happy to help others by sharing just how accessible Japan really is thanks to Accessible Japan and TabiFolk.

      Enjoy your trip!


  • Josh Grisdale

    November 18, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    Wow, great answers @schroth-sensei – thank you.

    Yes Judy, the majority of places do not require removing shoes. However, when they do, as mentioned above they are often accommodating. I had my tires wiped many times and even had little plastic booties put over my shoes (which don’t touch the ground!).

    If you are still concerned, you could always by shoe covers to take with you as well: https://amzn.to/3geM7iJ

  • AsiaMarketMakers

    July 9, 2023 at 4:34 pm

    I wear a couple of braces. When I visited in May I never had to remove my ankle brace.

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