Everyone is welcome in Japan

Japan is becoming easier to travel for everyone—wheelchair users, people with visual or hearing impairments, senior citizens, families with young children, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Tailor your trip to Japan to make your experience even better!

The New Barrier-Free Law was enacted in 2006 to make buildings, transportation, and the general environment more accessible for senior citizens and people with disabilities. Then in 2016, the Universal Design 2020 Action Plan was approved in efforts to make Japan more inclusive, interdependent, and a better place to live. These initiatives are leading to overall improvements in infrastructure for both residents and visitors to Japan.

Accessible tourism

Explore interesting parts of or plan a trip to lesser-known regions in Japan, here are ideas to help you make the most of your visit!

Work up a sweat like an Olympic or Paralympic athlete! More and more spots for accessible sports are opening up in Japan, making it possible for anyone, from senior citizens to families with young children, to come together and get active. You can go diving or canoeing in the pristine waters of Okinawa or fly across the skies of Tohoku. In winter, grab a pair of dual skis or bi-skis to take on a new challenge.

Accessible tourism

Personalize your trip

A little research in advance will make your trip more enjoyable! Find out about transportation and accommodation options for a well-tailored trip to Japan!

  • Transportation

    Tokyo and its surrounding areas have a well-developed network of transportation. You can access most places via bus or train. Most stations are equipped with escalators and elevators. Wheelchair users can ask station staff to get a ramp and help them get on and off the train. There is also an increasing number of wheelchair-friendly buses and taxis.

    Search accessible station information and routes: RakuRaku Odekake-net

  • Accommodation

    Worried about accommodation? Hotels beyond a certain size in Japan must be equipped with ramps and elevators. Staying in a large city hotel is a great option for many reasons. A number of smaller hotels and ryokan inns also offer barrier-free rooms with large washrooms for wheelchair users and senior citizens. They also accept families with children. You can search for hotels based on these criteria online. If you’re hoping to take a dip in a hot spring, many hotels have baths with handrails and slip-resistant floors. Families and couples can also reserve rooms with private open-air baths or rent out their hotel’s bath for a certain duration of time. Mineral-rich hot springs have a variety of efficacies and are a great way to relax. There is also an increasing number of LGBTQ+ friendly hotels and establishments in Japan.

  • Dining

    Japan is an epicure’s paradise. It offers a wide variety of both Japanese and international cuisine. For international tourists, many restaurants provide multilingual menus with pictures of the dishes. In recent times, Japan is seeing an increase in eateries that cater to vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets. There are also a number of restaurants that specialize in halalfood, and you can even find halal ramen. Many diners have nationwide chains. They usually have comfy seats and kids’ meals, making them perfect for families with children. Most large shopping malls are almost entirely barrier-free. They house restaurants and food courts offering a variety of local and international cuisine. You will find a number of shopping malls in Odaiba, a man-made island in Tokyo Bay.

  • Experience

    Many museums and galleries in Japan are entirely barrier-free and have washrooms for wheelchair users. Most of these spots have multilingual websites that provide detailed information about accessibility. Government-run museums and galleries offer free entry to individuals with disabilities and one companion. You just need to show your physical disability certificate at the entrance. Many movie theaters also have wheelchair-friendly facilities, as well as special seating zones for wheelchair users. Although a lot of shrines and temples are full of stairs, many have passageways and ramps for wheelchair users. Some also have multilingual websites with detailed information about their facilities. There are also numerous activities available for families and people with physical disabilities. Amusement parks in Japan provide plenty of convenient services for families with young children as well as individuals with disabilities. Places like Kamakura and Asakusa have driver-guides who are also certified care workers. There are also many barrier-free tours departing from Tokyo.


    TIC (Tourist Information Center)

    Most tourist information centers located at airports, major train stations, and tourist attractions throughout Japan provide support for visitors with disabilities. The JNTO Tourist Information Center near Tokyo Station offers facilities and services such as braille blocks and sign boards, whiteboards for communication as well as a meet and greet service from Tokyo Station. Friendly and knowledgeable staff fluent in English, Chinese and Korean can help you plan your trip.

Accessible infrastructure

Japan’s infrastructure makes it an easy place to travel and get by on your own. If you face any problems, don’t hesitate to reach out to strangers. Most people are happy to help!

Public spaces

Stations, airports, and other public spaces in Japan are equipped with a variety of convenient facilities.

  • Multifunctional toilets

    Public spaces, including stations, airports, and department stores all have multifunctional toilets with ample room for wheelchairs and baby strollers. They provide convenient access for wheelchair users and senior citizens, and many are equipped with toilets for ostomates and changing tables for babies.

  • Elevator

    Public transport hubs, as well as most hotels and shopping malls have elevators. You’ll find a wheelchair symbol marking the doors of priority elevators. Some have doors on both sides so that wheelchair users and people with baby strollers can enter and leave easily, without having to turn around. Although all stations don’t have elevators, they are installing a large number of them ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. You can check the websites of each railway company to find out which stations have elevators.

  • Service dogs

    Japanese law decrees that public institutions like hotels and restaurants cannot refuse individuals with a guide dog, service dog, or hearing dog. Note that some places may ask you to present a certificate proving that you require a service dog, so make sure to carry the necessary documentation with you!

  • Pictograms and multilingual signs

    Public spaces such as airports and stations are all set up with pictograms and multilingual signs to easily convey information. Most trains in and around Tokyo have monitors that display information in multiple languages, and many provide announcements in English. Note that the trains also have station numbers.


Buses, trains, and taxis are all getting revamped with universal design. Learn about helpful Japanese services and systems available to make travel smoother.

  • UD Taxis

    The new, government subsidized UD taxis (universal taxis) are growing in numbers, particularly in Tokyo. They are designed to provide easy access to wheelchair users and families with baby strollers. UD taxis are larger than ordinary sedan cars, have high ceilings, sliding doors, and can be set up with ramps. Wheelchair users can get on them without having to fold their wheelchairs. It’s best to request your hotel to book them in advance. Japan does have taxi apps like Uber and DiDi, but they currently don’t give you the option of selecting a UD taxi.

  • Non-step buses

    There’s an increasing number of easy-access non-step buses in cities around Japan. These buses are built with low floors to make it easier for everyone to board and alight. Most of the government-run Toei buses in Tokyo are non-step. Note that most long-haul, intercity buses still have not incorporated non-step design.

  • Braille blocks

    Roads, stations, and other public stations in Japan are set up with Braille blocks—plates laid out on the floor to guide people with visual impairments. Users can feel the blocks with the soles of their feet or canes as they walk. There are two types: line-shaped guide blocks to indicate which direction to walk, and dotted warning blocks to prevent users from walking into dangerous places. They are painted bright yellow to make them stand out.

  • Priority seat

    Most trains and buses have priority seats for senior citizens, pregnant women, families with young children, and people with disabilities. Priority seats are well marked and usually colored differently from other seats.

  • Station platform door

    Many Metro and JR station platforms in major cities are installed with doors that open only when the trains arrive, to prevent people from getting injured or falling into the tracks.

  • Station maps

    Station maps

    Tokyo Metro has a complex network of trains running through it. On station platforms, you will find maps indicating the nearest escalators and elevators in each stop to make transfers more seamless. Moreover, you can check JR, Tokyo Metro, and Toei’s official multilingual websites for three dimensional floor plans of the stations and find out if your destination has an elevator.

  • Wheelchair parking

    Roadside stations, major hotels, department stores, and other similar facilities have parking spaces for wheelchair users. They are usually located near the entrance or elevators for easier access. Wheelchair parking spaces are well-marked. Look out for them if you are traveling around Japan by rental car.