While in Japan, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what they are in the United States. Although Japan’s accessibility laws mandate that new construction projects for public use include provisions for persons with disabilities, older buildings are not likely to have been retrofitted for accessibility. At major train stations, airports, and hotels, travelers with disabilities should encounter few accessibility problems. Accessibility at other public facilities continues to improve through the installation of elevators and wheelchair ramps. However, travelers should note that many smaller stations are inaccessible to those who cannot climb stairs. Most major urban hotels have wheelchair accessible rooms, while smaller “business hotels” and traditional Japanese-style inns may not accommodate wheelchair users.
Information on travel in Japan for travelers with disabilities is available at Tesco Premium Search Co., Ltd. website “ the Travel Guide for Wheelchair Users.” U.S. citizen travelers in wheelchairs should be aware that wheelchairs must be no more than 120 centimeters in length/height and no more than 70 centimeters in width in order to be allowed in trains. Accessibility information regarding the East Japan Railway Company is also available at the company’s website. Reduced train fares for individuals with disabilities are not available for temporary visitors to Japan. If you do not speak Japanese, you may wish to ask your travel agent to make advance arrangements for your travel in Japan.