My partner and I have hidden disabilities, we are ambulant and don’t use wheelchairs. I suffer from chronic pain in my spine which makes walking and queuing extremely painful after more than a few minutes. My partner has Ataxia, a rare condition which affects balance, coordination and fine motor skills which causes him extreme difficulty with stairs and uneven surfaces under foot. Often his condition is mistaken for being drunk due to his unsteady gait. We live in Scotland, UK, and neither of us has any official disability ID. I have a few questions I hope someone could help with please?
1. What would happen if a Japanese official, or other worker, suspects my partner is drunk? Given the language barrier how do we make it known he has a disability?
2. Does Japan have a symbol you can wear that discretely indicates to people you have a hidden disability? For example, here in the UK we have a sunflower lanyard we can wear around our neck. These are becoming more widely recognised and it helps convey to staff the need for assistance without having to explain the disability repeatedly.
3. As we can both walk, albeit for a very short distance only, how can we explain we have hidden disabilities while using public transport or attending a tourist attraction etc in order that we may be provided with a seat for waiting? Is it worth bringing a fold up chair of some sort and carrying it around to different sites? Would we even be allowed in with such an item?
4. With regards to the main tourist attractions, are there plenty of places to sit and rest, say in the grounds surrounding castles and temples, or in museums? The research I’ve done so far doesn’t seem to show much in the way of seating but that may be due to aesthetics so I wanted to check.
5. Are there any day trip operators in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka that are hidden disability friendly? We want to take advantage of day trips but are worried that a lot of walking may be involved at the destination but that we won’t be able to convey the problem without a wheelchair.
6. Does anyone have any general advice with regards to visiting Japan with hidden/mobility disabilities?
Many thanks for your help, any and all advice greatly received.
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