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Japan made accessible for families

Fancy kneading your own udon noodles? Or visiting a real samurai castle? Maybe you like the thought of a manga drawing class?

With the Tokyo Olympics fast approaching, Japan has been catapulted into the family-friendly holiday spotlight. But a trip to this island nation can seem daunting, especially with a wheelchair in tow. We’ve given Inside Japan the gold medal for taking the stress out of all things family-friendly and wheelchair-accessible in Japan.

Matsumoto or “Black Crow” castle is full of samurai armour! Credit: Filip Fuxa, Shutterstock

Jump aboard a small group tour

Inside Japan has a range of guided itineraries that feel custom-made thanks to their small group size. The 14-night Hands On Japan trip is as interactive as it sounds. Kids as young as 6 years old will love taiko drumming, seeing sumo, venturing on a cruise and making pottery in Tokyo, Kyoto and beyond. The Classic Japan is another favourite. We bet you never thought you’d boil eggs in a hot spring like Hakone! The best feature of small group tours is the 24/7 input of expert guides who can modify daily activities to suit your family.

A boiled black egg from Hakone hot springs Credit: NJ Photography, Shutterstock

Self-guided and stress-free

Perhaps you’d prefer to venture out on your own and enjoy time together as a family – but with all logistics accounted for. On the Wheelchair Accessible Golden Route, you’ll travel between cities on a thrilling bullet train and take a private accessible vehicle to visit the sacred deer of Nara. The Kyoto Golden Temple and Tokyo Skytree experience are sure favourites. On these pre-planned and self-guided trips, transport credit, Japan Rail passes, accommodation and the like are all arranged for you.

worlds best buildings

Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion, a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan Credit: Shutterstock

Bespoke your worries away

Want more freedom still? Inside Japan has expert consultants who can craft a holiday to suit your budget, needs and interests. They’ve got the inside scoop on the best wheelchair accessible hotels, which exist in abundance in Japan but aren’t always easy to find. Start from scratch or chop and change from Inside Japan’s fantastic list of activities. Learn origami, ikebana flower arranging and calligraphy at the Kyoto Craft Centre. Go sea kayaking from Hiroshima to Miyajima Island through the famous floating gate. Learn the traditional art of roketsu indigo dyeing, or enjoy the panoramic views 634 metres in the sky atop the fully accessible Tokyo Skytree.

The floating torii (gate), Miyajima Credit: Luciano Mortula LGM, Shutterstock

Read more:

10 reasons to visit Japan

Tokyo Disneyland vs. DisneySea

Off the beaten track – beyond Tokyo and Kyoto




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