Sunday, 20 April 2014

Kyoto, Japan and the wheelchair

We sailed into Kobe and had arranged for a couple of nights in Kyoto.  We wanted to catch the Bullet Train to Tokyo and our wonderful travel agent - Di from FlightCentre Booval - had suggested that the train station in Kyoto looked more wheelchair accessible than the one in Kobe.  So we arranged for a pickup off the boat and headed to Kyoto. 

We didn't realize that our timing was perfect.  The driver told us that the Cherry Blossoms had come out the day before.  We had no idea that they only flower for a week each year and it all depends on the weather for the timing of this event.  So we were very excited about that piece of information.  We had booked at the ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel.  This turned out to be a great location.  The room was well set out except it had a bath and did not have a shower chair.  After a visit to the Front Desk, staff turned up with a couple of things that we could use, that turned out to be very acceptable. 

We decided to go for a walk to the Nijo Temple, which was just across the road from the hotel.  It was very interesting.  Going into the Temple however required the use of the Temple Wheelchair.  This made it interesting, as it was a wheelchair that Sully need help with, but after I agreed not to use it as a weapon, everything went quite smoothly from there.  As it was school holidays, there was a small markets in the grounds and we had lunch there.  Although Sully could not make it to the top of the Observation Platform, everywhere else turned out to be not too difficult to get around.

The next day we went for a walk to find Markets we had read about.  These markets were massive, and great to walk around.  We had lunch at a restaurant called 'Liptons' which turned out to be very English.  We then managed to find a wheelchair accessible toilet, but it was locked.  We couldn't find anyone to help us to open it.  Sully then found another toilet on a map, but it was a fair distance away.  Once we got there, it was not accessible either.  At that point, we put him into a taxi to go back to the hotel.  We were quite surprised at the lack of accessible toilets, as on a previous visit to Osaka, Japan, we had not had any trouble finding them.  The biggest problem in Japan is finding someone who can speak English well enough to understand us. 

That night we went for a walk and found a Japanese restaurant for tea.  We managed to get Sully into the restaurant and found a place for us all to sit.  It was an interesting way to order though....we had to order on a machine and then give the tickets from the machine to the waitress to order the meals.  Fortunately a local helped Sharon and I decipher what we wanted (of coarse only written in Japanese), and the meal was delivered looking like what was on the screen.

1 comment:

  1. thank you for your report - I to also wish major cities would have a few extra public toilets - !