Tree at Cap d'Antibes True Story

An inspiring True Story written by life

This is a true story that happened in August 2016. Maybe you like it as much as I do.

 

On a warm and pleasant summer day, a young man went for a walk around Cap d’Antibes in the South of France. With a heavy heart and 1000 questions about life in his head he slowly walked along. The young man had been experiencing a difficult phase of self-doubt, anger and great mental suffering for weeks.

 

He sat down on a tree trunk by the sea and began a silent conversation with the universe. “What’s all this for?” he asked silently, overwhelmed by emotions. The young man sat there for a while, not moving. It occurred to him that when something in life was really meant to be, it would only take little struggle and not too much effort to achieve it. “Circumstances always seem to successfully work together to make dreams come true.”

 

As the full meaning of this idea rose in his mind, he addressed life in a challenge, thinking “From now on, just let me know if you need me!”. At this very moment a guy closely walked by… On the guys t-shirt could be read “You are ready for life”!

 

It seems as if life always listens to us!

Tokyo City Hall

Wheelchair accessible MUST SEES in Tokyo

After telling you about Tokyo’s accessibility in general in my last post, I’d like to show you some great things to do and see. Tokyo is a wheelchair accessible paradise compared to many other cities I’ve been to.

 

1.) Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine

Accessible Yoyogi Park in Tokyo

 

Yoyogi Park is known for its Meiji Shrine. The park is wheelchair accessible and there are enough wheelchair restrooms, too. We saw some nice flower exhibitions on our way through the park. The Meiji Shrine has a wheelchair accessible ramp so that everyone can enjoy the site. We saw cute little girls in traditional kimonos and also a boy dressed in his yukata.

 

Accessible Meiji Shrine in Tokyo

2.) Harajuku – Takeshita dori (Jap./street) and cat street

Accessible Takeshita Dori in Tokyo

 

Harajuku is a trendy shopping paradise for young people. It’s right next to Yoyogi park, so you could easily combine these two activities. Prices are not too expensive and there’s also a great choice of restaurants, fast food outlets, crepe shops (French pancakes) and so on. Takeshita dori is the heart of Harajuku’s most extreme teenage fashion and lifestyle culture. There are lots of different fashion boutiques, used clothes stores and you can even find a big 100-Yen shop. The street itself is narrow and usually crowded. It can get a little tough to maneuver yourself through. But it’s absolutely worth it and definitely one of Tokyo’s many must-sees. You can also visit Cat Street which is less crowded than Takeshita dori. On Cat Street you’ll see much more Japanese fashionistas than tourists.

 

Accessible Takeshita Dori in Tokyo

 

3.) Ueno Park and Ueno Zoo

Accessible Ueno Park in Tokyo

 

Ueno Park is one of my favorite spots in Tokyo. It is a spacious public park with a beautiful lake and many different attractions. The lake is covered with lotus flowers. You can take the Shinobazu pond to cross it. The whole area is wheelchair accessible but I didn’t see wheelchair restrooms.

Ueno Zoo is just next to Ueno Park. If you like zoos you should give it a try as it is Japan’s oldest one. The sometimes hilly area is fully wheelchair accessible with enough restrooms.

 

Accessible Ueno Park in Tokyo

 

4.) Asakusa

Accessible Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo

 

Asakusa offers many cool spots to discover. You can still feel an atmosphere of Tokyo’s past decades and maybe you’ll see some Sumos or even Geishas. The Buddhist Sensoji Temple is very popular and the heart of Askusa. The temple is approached via Nakamise street, a shopping street offering loads of souvenirs and traditional local snacks. The temple itself is equipped with a wheelchair accessible ramp.

 

Accessible Asakusa at sunset

 

5.) Shibuya

Shibuya Crossing in wheelchair accessible Tokyo

 

Shibuya is the busy pulse of Tokyo. The famous Shibuya crossing, next to JR’s Hachiko Exit, is the biggest crossing in the world and up to 2500 people cross each time when the lights turn green. But even during rush hour everyone stays remarkably calm and polite. There’s no pushing and people are totally ordered! We spent the evening of Halloween in Shibuya and had to cross. Police officers took care of the 5 crosswalks as there were so many people everywhere. The police gave the signal and the masses started moving. I was scared in my small mobility scooter, but I made it to the other side. I just didn’t stop and people let me pass.

 

Crowds in Shibuya, Tokyo

 

We also visited the statue of Hachiko. Maybe you’ve already heard the name or you’ve seen the movie with Richard Gere? Hachiko was an Akita dog known for its loyalty to his owner, a professor at the University of Tokyo. Each night, this remarkable dog awaited his owner’s return and appeared exactly when the train arrived at Shibuya Station. One day the professor died and didn’t return. Fore more than nine years Hachiko still came back every night to wait for his owner.

 

Accessible Hachiko statue in Shibuya, Tokyo

 

Of course there are much more must-sees and nice places to visit in Tokyo! In the next post I’ll tell you about the differences between Tokyo Sky Tree and Tokyo Tower.

  • Have you already been to Japan? What did you experience? Leave a comment below or send a message to share your thoughts. Stay tuned!
Tokyo JR Train

Tokyo Travel Diary – All about Accessibility

Back home since yesterday, my thoughts are still in Japan. It has been my fourth trip to Tokyo and I will always be in love with this city and its mixture of modern technology and tradition. This time I rented a mobility scooter via Marudai Motor Co. which was the best idea ever to get around easily by myself.

 

Happy with the Pikachu Scooter!

The Pikachu Scooter

 

We flew with Air France to Tokyo Haneda Airport on October 22nd and stayed for 13 nights in a nice AirBnB home in Sendagaya. Together with our friend Sue and her two kids we had an amazing time in Nippon. As I stayed for almost two weeks, I decided to write several articles about my experiences in Tokyo. I’d like to start with the most important topic. The accessibility!

 

Accessibility of Tokyo – The Basics

Strolling through the streets of Tokyo

Strolling through the streets.

Tokyo is one of the most wheelchair accessible cities worldwide. The JR-East Railway Company and also the private Tokyo Metro offer an extraordinary well organized service for wheelchair users. The bus system seems to be mostly wheelchair accessible, too. There are ramps and elevators and very good wheelchair accessible restrooms everywhere. You get many discounts (only after presentation of a disability card written in English) for attractions like Ueno Zoo, TOKYO Skytree and the public gardens.

 

  • Mobility Scooter
Together with the team of Marudai Motor Company

Mr Okura and his staff

Renting a mobility scooter was easy and a great possibility to keep my self-autonomy. I found the Marudai Motor Co. on Google and contacted them. The service was perfect and affordable. Mr Okura and his staff, who were both very friendly and kind, delivered the mobility scooter to our AirBnB house on time. I had to pay 20.000 Yen (about 175 EUR or 195 USD) for two weeks.

Mobility Scooter Certificate from Marudai Motor Company in Tokyo

The Certificate

I think this price is very reasonable. I got some instructions but as I already use my Red Devil at home, I knew exactly how to drive this sweet litte scooter. The rental company handed me over a certificate saying that I officially rented the scooter and that it is permitted to use it on JR-East Trains as well as on the Metro. If you come with your own scooter you might encounter some problems. Mobility scooters are still very rare in Japan. It seems that mobility scooters are not yet accepted as mobility devices for disabled people. The certificate though made everything possible!

 

 

JR-East Trains and Tokyo Metro

When we had to take the JR (almost daily), we went to the station’s wheelchair counter to ask for help. I always presented the certificate to the staff. The service agent accompanied us to the train track and installed a mobile ramp to get me on the train. Once arrived at our destination, another service agent already waited for me to help me out of the train with the ramp. The agent also showed us the way to the exit. We really enjoyed this excellent VIP service because the stations are huge and can get very crowded. The JR-East Japan Railway Company has high service standards for people with disabilities. Travelling with JR-East is a real pleasure!

 

 

I wondered if JR-East offers a discount for disabled but the agent at the customer service desk explained that a discount is only applicable for Japanese disability card holders and only on demand. Isn’t it funny how a disability kind of „disappears“ when crossing borders? But anyway, the question was worth to be asked. One of the private metros offered a discount which was very kind. The Metro service agent told us to purchase a ticket for children and so we saved 50 % of the regular price.

 

Tokyo is worth a visit – especially as a wheelchair user!

I really like the amazing Japanese sense of service and perfectionism.

 

In the next blog post I’ll tell you more about things to do and see in Tokyo!