October 13, 2019 at 8:22 am #5938
October 13, 2019 at 11:15 am #5940
I think I know a place that can help and will ask them to comment here.
October 15, 2019 at 4:31 pm #5956
I am the guest relations manager for Camellia Ltd. in Kyoto. We have two teahouses in the city, one to the east and one to the west.
Unfortunately our east location (Camellia Flower) is not accessible to wheelchairs or for those with disabilities. Both our tearooms here are located upstairs, and the entranceway is a very tight fit.
Our Camellia Garden teahouse, located to the west of the city, is accessible. There is a small step up to the main gate, but after that we have a moveable wheelchair ramp into the house itself. The tearoom is located on the ground floor.
As yet we have not had any guests in wheelchairs, but over the last few months we have been discussing how we can make our business more accessible. If you are interested in knowing more, then please get in touch. We will endeavour to be as flexible as possible, and can discuss your requirements and the cost of the tea ceremony in more detail.
October 15, 2019 at 4:50 pm #5957
Thank you for replying Kieren!
If possible, when you have time could you upload an image or two of the step at the main gate and the ramp to the tea house? That would be very useful to future visitors.
October 15, 2019 at 5:21 pm #5958
Of course if you give me a little time I can take some photos of the wheelchair ramp.
For now I have posted photos of the small steps from the road to the gate. There are 3 in total, and while they are not high, it really depends on the wheelchair user.
The fortunate thing about Camellia Garden teahouse is the size of the front entrance and house. There is quite a lot of space for maneuverability.
I will try to get back with photos as soon as I can. Until then, feel free to ask me any questions you might have.
October 15, 2019 at 5:27 pm #5959
November 13, 2019 at 10:39 am #6075
Sorry for the late reply to this thread.
I have included some more photos. Our main wheelchair ramp takes guests from the front yard path, over the porch and into the reception room.
There is still a lot for us to do. We are looking at the small plastic ramps for the low steps.
We do have some questions. Tatami, the straw matting that covers the floors of the house, is quite delicate and so we are now investigating how best to protect it. In the tearoom we have carpets for guests to sit on, so our concerns are really about the entrance rooms. Guests remove their shoes at the entrance, but with wheelchairs we have to think about the wheels themselves. Would it be indelicate to have a plastic ‘path’ to get guests into the main tearoom?
Also we would like some advice on about how to make the tea ceremony comfortable for wheelchair users. Guests typically sit on cushions on the floor and pick up the bowls from the floor in front of them. We have some low tables for guests who prefer to sit in low chairs, but is this comfortable for those sitting in a wheelchair (it likely involves some leaning forward)? We want everyone to feel at home as possible, so all advice is very welcome.
For now, many thanks from everyone at Camellia.
November 13, 2019 at 10:53 am #6076
November 13, 2019 at 11:41 am #6077
When I went to the Samurai and Ninja Museum near Nishiki Market, they put wheel covers on my the two big back wheels of my manual wheelchair to protect the tatami mats. This was made of a thick stretchy black material and Velcro. It might be worth contacting them and also seeing if the same can be done for electric wheelchair and scooter wheels. Another option that will work for some wheelchair users who are admire to transfer is having an indoor wheelchair that visitors can transfer to. You can get a model with smooth rubber wheels that might hold up better to tatami. In any event, thank you so much for making the effort!
November 13, 2019 at 11:44 am #6078
November 13, 2019 at 11:49 am #6079
Hi. I’m sorry we couldn’t welcome you for tea ceremony on this occasion. In reality, you have really helped us to take action in addressing the accessibility issues we have, and we really appreciate your advice.
Can I ask another question, if you have time. We also provide a Samurai experience. Did you handle any swords during your trip to the Samurai and Ninja Museum? I’m very interested in knowing how difficult it is to manage a sword in a wheelchair.
Again, sorry we couldn’t see you during your time in Kyoto. I really hope you will have a chance to return to the city.
November 13, 2019 at 11:55 am #6080
I did handle a small sword just to take a photo, it was not too heavy it difficult. not sure how authentic it was :) they also had Ninja star throwing with rubber stars, so it was easy and safe. A lot of kids at the museum so kid height and wheelchair height is often very similar.
November 13, 2019 at 12:11 pm #6081
You looked great!
Thank you for the information, it is very helpful. We are really excited to be able to offer a more inclusive experience, and this forum has been so useful.
November 13, 2019 at 12:44 pm #6082
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