Travelling Japan with a Mobility Aid

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We in Australia love to travel and experience different cultures.  We understand that being Australian is not about ethnocentric views, but more about how diversity of culture experiences makes us citizens of the world. 

While we live in a great country, we still have so much to learn from others.  Our disabilities should not stop us from experiencing these cultures and embracing the full cultural experience.  This is why at Out and About Healthcare, we take the time to travel where our customers desire to go, giving us the experience to be able to advise on the best products for your trip.  Today we are looking at Japan. Stephen and Dian took this trip in January – February 2020 and here is their report!

Getting to Japan

The first step one needs to take on planning out their trip is to look at suitable products that are plane safe and to find out if the airline you are travelling on will take your Travel mobility aid / Travel Mobility Scooter / Travel Electric Wheelchair.  Remember, just because your product meets the world standards does not guarantee the airline will take it.  Each airline is a business in its’ own right and either Government or private owned.  These airlines have their own rules and you need to seek out what they are.  We at Out and About Healthcare choose Qantas, as not only is it an Australian company and we like to support our home grown companies, but they are wonderful when it comes to disability services.

Things To Consider

The things to consider before flying are

  •  Does the product you have, have a current MSDS (Material data Safety Sheet)?  This is a testing report required to show the safety of your product and will be needed at book in to take your product with you.  No MSDS, no taking your product with you.
  • Does your product need the fold down size for the airline? Our website contains the relevant information for our products.
  • Will the airline include the disability product free or will there be a charge?  Remember, it is sometimes cheaper to fly with a more expensive airline than a cheaper one if the cheaper one has extra fees.
  • Do you need assistance when you get to the airline? 
  • Are you required to take the battery with your cabin luggage and if so, does the airline have special requirements for this?  The great thing about the Heartway Portable scooter and Electric wheelchair range is that the batteries come in cases with handles and also contain Chip Technology. Put a Link here to our portable Scooter and electric wheelchair site.

To see a full range of travel safe scooters and electric wheelchairs, go to the following 2 web pages:

Once You Arrive In Japan

You will notice there are very few Mobility Scooters and Electric Wheelchairs in Japan.  However, you will also notice that the people in Japan are very friendly and more than helpful.  The major cities, airports and train stations have lifts and ramps for disability use. Although outside the cities it can become more challenging.  In our time there, we did not see any hire mobility products and only a few people using mobility products.  Make sure while booking ahead for your train passes, you discuss with the company that you need to use a mobility product and that they are happy to have you do so.

The taxi service was 5 star and we would highly recommend getting around the cities this way.  It is a white glove service if you choose the correct taxis.

Hotels

Japan hotels tend to be very small, and you should discuss with the hotel if and where you could leave your mobility product and how you could charge it.  Our suggestion is to make sure you choose a product that you can charge the battery separately.  This way you can charge it while in the hotel.

In Tokyo

Tokyo is a wonderful city with so much to see and do.  However, note that there is little opportunity outside Tokyo unless you travel long distances.  In saying that, the streets are well designed considering the size of the city and we found you could get around easily.

Places to visit:

Visiting the Snow Monkeys

The snow monkeys at Nagano are the highlight of Japan, in my opinion.  Everyone has the snow monkeys on their list and if not, they should!  Be aware though, it is difficult to get there on a scooter or wheelchair.  You need to discuss with the park how they may be able to help.  Make sure your product has good grip tyres, and is a strong machine.  If you can walk a little yourself, and have enough support and your travel companions can help, you will not be disappointed.  These little animals are amazing and so friendly.  Be prepared for them to come right up to you! Watching them in the snow if you are there at that time of year is something you will never forget. We stayed in Nagano and the few days there were wonderful.

In Osaka

Osaka was an experience of a lifetime, and you need 7-9 days to fully appreciate this wonderful city and the Cities surrounding it.  We stayed about 1km from the train station, and from there we spent each day either walking around the city or traveling by train to small cities outside of Osaka.  Getting around the city and the smaller cities by Scooter or Wheelchair was easy. 

Places to visit:

The Black castle is amazing, as it has a lift to each floor for disability access.  However, the Osaka Castle did not.

Japan is an absolutely wonderful place to visit, and can be enjoyed with the right Mobility aid. 

Our Picks for Traveling in Japan

Take a look at some of our top picks of products for travelling in Japan, listed below.

Travel Mobility Scooters with batteries designed for plane travel:
Electric Wheelchairs with batteries designed for plane travel:
Manual Sports Wheelchair:

Have you been to Japan with a mobility aid? We would love it if you could tell us all about it and show us pictures! Or would you like to travel, and need a travel mobility aid? Why not contact our friendly team to have a chat about our portable products?

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