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Japan: Accessible Travel Guide Overview

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I spent most of my time in Tokyo, which is broken up into over a dozen distinct areas and is densely populated. For five full days and four nights I was also in Kyoto, plus one day spent in Nara. I wanted to go to Osaka but ran out of time. There is still much of Japan that I wish to see. I noticed a few distinct accessibility differences between Japan and the USA. For one, Japan is the originator of using tactile paving (truncated domes) on sidewalks and train stations to help the blind navigate. Often, these truncated domes...

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PN Magazine: Journey to Japan

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PN Magazine: March 2013, Volume 67 Number 3, Pages 44-48 This cover story features a segment about the travels adventures of wheelchairtraveling.com in Japan. Written and photographed by Ashley Lyn...

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Tokyo Podcast: Traveling in Japan by Wheelchair

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Tokyo Podcast 47: October 7, 2012 This particular Tokyo Podcast features an interview by Anthony Jon with Ashley Lyn Olson of wheelchairtraveling.com about her accessible travel experience in...

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Visit Accessible Attractions in Japan

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When traveling to a different country most people will plan each day where multiple attractions can be seen, which is easy in Japan because most of the time a few attractions are clustered together. Attractions can be just a station or two away or within rolling distance from each other. With so much to see along the way, time management becomes vital. Regardless, it’s good planning to pick up a map of the area you are visiting at the train station you get off at to help you navigate and use when asking for directions. On the sidewalks near train...

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Wheelchair Accessible Transportation in Japan

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Train travel is the most popular way to get around Japan and for a tourist using a wheelchair it is vital. Train stations are resources for information, food, water, public restrooms, navigation and even shopping for pretty much anything. Every station has maps displayed to what lines are available and what area is covered as well as information booths that have maps you can take in English or whatever language you prefer showing the train routes and tourist attractions in the area. There is usually at least one person working that knows a little English if you have more...

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Japan Journey: What an Adventure!

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It was hot and humid. Beads of sweat were rapidly racing down my back and face. The sound of semi (cicada) bugs filled the air like tiny violins playing the same note. It was around four o’clock and I had been wheeling around all day. Where were these Ukai Cormorant Fishermen that I was looking for? My body urged me to take cover from the sun’s intense summer rays. I decided to take refuge at a small food stand stationed on the banks of the Oi River in the Arashiyama District of Kyoto. An unhinged plank of wood lay...

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Accessibility at Mitsui Garden Hotel in Kyoto, Japan

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Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Shijo is a mid-ranged price hotel on a small side street. The Kyoto subway is not located far from this hotel as well as a number of attractions, including the popular Nishiki Market. The automatic doors open up to the lobby’s smooth marble floor. The décor was modern and simple. The check-in desk did not have a lowered section but wasn’t the full height of a standing counter so it was manageable. The lobby floor also has a small café where you can get a continental breakfast. On the second floor is the Otowa restaurant which...

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Hearton Hotel in Kyoto, Japan

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Hearton Hotel is a mid-priced hotel in Kyoto is on a small side street in a very central location, surrounded by many attractions and the train station within rolling distance. Right outside of the entrance is a handicapped parking spot and once thru the automatic doors the check-in counter is on the left. The Hearton Hotel had no lowered check-in space for wheelchair users. Only one or two employees at the hotel could speak English but this was very limited at best. To the right of the check-in counter is a café that offers western-style entrées for breakfast and...

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Tyoko Inn in Kawasaki, Japan

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Tyoko Inn is a budget business hotel located all over Japan and in some cities multiple can be found.  I would definitely stay at a Tyoko Inn again. In Kawasaki, the Tyoko Inn was a little over a block away from the train station in a popular area for shopping and dining. Kawasaki is just over a bridge from Tokyo. Only one entrance into the hotel exists and has automatic doors that on occasion need to be opened with a push of a button. A handicapped parking spot is just outside this door. The check-in counter had a lowered...

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Keio Plaza in Tokyo, Japan

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The Keio Plaza Hotel is located in Tokyo region of Shinjuku near the train station. The lobby is impressive with marble floors and a large chandelier but was disappointed to find no lowered counter at the check-in counter. A little English is spoken at this hotel which made it easier to check-in. Right around the corner from the check-in counter are the elevators and a wheelchair accessible restroom. A number of restaurants are found on the lobby floor including one serving Italian and another traditional Japanese cuisine. There’s even an American café, coffee shop and a bakery to get morning...

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Rome, Italy Wheelchair Accessible Travel Tips

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When I found out my brother had decided to do a destination wedding in Switzerland, I was jazzed: a joyous excuse for a trip to Europe! One of the great things about Europe is that the continent is compact: once you’re there, it’s easy to sample numerous different cultures with minimal travel. The biggest challenge is choosing where to go and ensuring that you have enough time to devote to some of Europe’s treasures. For those of us who wheel, reliable and detailed information about a foreign locale can be inconsistent. While Europe does have accessibility laws, implementation of...

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Overview: San Francisco, CA Access Travel Guide

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San Francisco may be one of the hilliest cities in the USA, but this doesn’t mean that it is not accessible for wheelchair travel. Power wheelchairs will have more freedom to explore the inner neighborhoods of San Francisco, but those using manual chairs may need to be pushed. There are, however, a few areas in San Francisco that are flat or relatively flat, which makes it easier for some to explore San Francisco. Otherwise, visitors can rely on multiple accessible public transportation options, like buses, to taxis, to light rails. Below you will find an overview with many links to...

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St. Louis, Missouri Tower Grove Neighborhood

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One of the best St. Louis neighborhoods to spend the day exploring is the Tower Grove area. Locals will divide this up into South Grand, Tower Grove Heights, the Missouri Botanical Gardens, and the Shaw neighborhoods, so don’t be confused in your excursion when you hear these references. This area is home to a fabulous park, a diverse range of restaurants, coffee shops, shopping and a glimpse at some gorgeous St. Louis architecture.  The entire area is very accessible despite its historic age and recently the South Grand strip underwent a renovation which improved sidewalk and parking accessibility. [Not...

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Maui, Hawaii: Wheelchair Accessible Guide to Paradise!

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Maui is THE place where it is 100% acceptable to wear those loud Hawaiian-printed shirts, flip-flops, gulp down Lava Flows, and live in your swimming trunks 24/7. It also boasts some of the best seafood, snorkeling, and weather in the world. It’s super laid-back, yet the perfect balance between complete relaxation and having the essence of Hawaii at your fingertips. To date, I have visited this tropical oasis over 7 times and each time the island offers up its own unique experience. As a wheelchair user (both manual and power), I can wholeheartedly say that the Hawaiian Islands can...

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Able Outdoors Magazine

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Able Outdoors Magazine: June/July 2015, Volume 1 , Pages 40-41 This first edition of Able Outdoors Magazine features an article by Ashley Lyn Olson about her travel adventures in Japan. She explores this country all on her own for two weeks and reports about what wheelchair access was like in this country and the wonderful she met and assist her on her...

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Montreal, Canada Accessible Travel Guide

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The city of Montreal in the Quebec Province is one of the most visited destinations in Canada with lots of friendly people. French is the most commonly spoken language here but nearly everyone also speaks English. Like many big cities, it is divided up into neighborhoods but the most popular area is the downtown, particularly Old Montreal. Old Montreal is the most historic part of the city with buildings designed during the French and British colonization. Statues idolizing this era are scatter throughout this area. If you are interested in architecture or history, then just wondering around would supply...

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Visiting Ashland, Oregon with 2 Power Wheelchairs

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Ashland, Oregon is stunningly beautiful. Nestled in a valley, the surrounding hills blanketed in green create a magical place. Home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland offers great food, friendly people, world-class entertainment and glorious sunsets. Our gang of three, two using power wheelchairs and one who walks, left the San Francisco area yesterday to begin our six hour drive to Ashland. We soon left behind the dry, wide-open fields and climbed through the Shasta National Forest into thousands of green acres.  The late June weather favored us and the cool mountains soon dropped us into Ashland in early...

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Trip to San Antonio, Texas

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San Antonio Texas is a nice southern part of Texas, two hours from Corpus Christi and two hours from Austin.  While it is a historic city, a lot of the things that you may want to see are all in one generalized area so that makes moving around with a disability easier. Downtown is where the Riverwalk is located.  This is a long stretch of water created for travel and with restaurants and shopping along the sides for people to stop at.   Within the past 5 years the Riverwalk has been expanded so there is even more to see. ...

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Visit Prague with an Accessible Tour

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Bezbatour is the only travel agency in the Czech Republic focused on accessible traveling. We offer our services to everybody including wheelchair users, families with children, seniors or people with diets. What is even more special about us it the fact that every accommodation in the Czech Republic or abroad with the seal of “Bezbatour guarantee” has been personally visited by our employees and thoroughly checked so we provide accurate information on its accessibility. As our office is located in Prague, the capital and one of the world’s most magnificent historic cities, we are experts at providing especially wheelchair users...

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San Diego, CA: Accessible Travel Tips to Attractions

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San Diego is one of California’s premier vacation beach towns, where people from all over the world come to soak up some sun. The weather here is pretty much the same all year round, which makes it a top destination no matter the season. San Diego is very wheelchair friendly and has done a stellar job making the city accessible to all. GASLAMP DISTRICT The Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego is a historic neighborhood located feet from the bay that has been reinvigorated with lively businesses and entertainment. Throughout the year, this area hosts many large festivals, events,...

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