Caution: Narrow Road.

Japan is not really wheelchair-friendly.

It’s strange, because cities are pretty well set up for the blind, with textured strips tracing sidewalks and train platforms, and braille used in the usual places.

If you’re confined to a chair, though, there are far fewer concessions. You get your own space on the bus, but not much more. Ramps aren’t common and low steps between rooms are. The most obvious hindrance, though, is how narrow store and restaurant aisles are (and, in big cities, how crowded). It’s often tricky just walking through a specialty shop without knocking stuff off the shelves; I can’t imagine trying to navigate a chair through. (I feel especially bad for wheelchair-bound otaku.) And crowded trains? Forget it.

I can only imagine chair users here have to quickly learn which businesses are compatible and what time they’re not busy, as well as try to find someone to get things from those tiny shops for them. That or just shop online.


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