When I started to plan my trip, one travel agent I contacted advised me against travelling to Japan. He believed I would encounter a lot of accessibility issues. I weighed up his advice against the fact that Japan was going to be the host of the 2020 Special Olympics. I decided to go despite his advice because I was able to reason that any country about to host Special Olympics would have dealt with accessibility issues. I was right.
The trip to Japan was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream which exceeded all my expectations. The residents spared no effort in accommodating me and ensuring I felt like an honored guest in their country. Japan’s renowned Tokyo Metro system was a revelation on how to design barrier free accessible public transportation. Notable locations included the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Disneyland and teamLab Borderless, the world’s first digital art museum, which was quite accessible in my opinion.
My travel dates: Dec 31, 2019 – Jan 6, 2020.
My flight: Air Canada flight #3 from Vancouver YVR, December 30 at 1:50 pm and arrival in Tokyo Narita Airport NRT on December 31 at 4:50 pm.
Practical Tips for Japan
- Here is a list [PDF] of the ITEMS I took along for a 6-day stay in Tokyo
My overall experience in Japan was extremely positive.
Three things I would like to particularly highlight :
- The Tokyo Metro system made transit within the city worry-free.
- My hotel was accurately designated “barrier free”.
- Catching all the sights at Disneyland was literally a walk (or wheel!) in the park.
Three things I would advise to bear in mind:
- There appears to be a lack of accessible taxis.
- Many restaurants don’t have accessible entrances.
- Our trip coincided with the beginning of New Year celebrations and many shops were closed. I recommend keeping potential holidays in mind when booking your vacation.
- My hotel was the Centurion Hotel Grand Akasaka.