Home Page Forums General Discussion Wheelchair Acccesible Onsens/Sentos/Ryokan

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  • #6280


    If/when I ever do make it to Japan, I’ll want to try a hot spring resort. In America, we have them, but they are very rare and they’re never hot enough to actually make a difference. I have a lot of spasticity, so I’m sure the heat could really help relax my muscles. However, it would be a logistical challenge. I was wondering if you guys have had any recommendations for me.

    Here are the accommodations that would make it easier for me

    • Grab bars/something to hold on to while I stand in the changing rooms. I’ve gotten creative with things before, I can do sinks, countertops, anything that gives me some bracing.
    • Accessible shower areas. I know that in at Onsen you’re supposed to shower before entering the bath, but this would be a huge challenge. I wouldn’t be able to transfer out of my chair to a bench or something, as I cannot stay upright without my chair.
    • Accessible bathroom. So long as I can get a chair in an area with a toilet, I’m good.
    • Wheelchair access up to the baths. I know a lot of these places allow you to take a chair up to the changing rooms, but many either don’t allow chairs in the baths or have steps/barriers that lead to the baths.
    • Hoist/Chairlift. In America, all public pools at hotels and resorts must have chair lifts that can lower guests into the water. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a link. I’ve never even heard of these existing in Japan, but if they do, that would make my life much easier
    • Something to hold onto in the water. Because I have issues with balance, that would help me feel more secure

    Also, If I’m doing the whole ryokan experience with dinner and an overnight stay, I’d need:

    • A raised western-style bed.
    • Raided tables

    Obviously, I know all of those things in one place is very unrealistic, but I’d like to find the closest thing to what I need. Obviously, when you have a disability, you can adapt to many different situations, but the easier, the better .:)

  • Author
  • #6281


    Hello Codes,

    That’s a lot on your list, most places probably won’t have everything. However, you may be in luck! Check out our information on Fuji Lake Hotel (here: https://www.accessible-japan.com/hotels/japan/yamanashi/fujikawaguchiko/high-range/fuji-lake-hotel/#post_content), they have an amazing amount of options for people with disabilities, and I believe it fits almost all of your criteria.

    The hotel is ran by wonderful people who have designed most of their hotel to fit the need of EVERYONE. Us working at Accessible Japan, that haven’t been there, are excited to stay at this hotel ourselves.

    If you want additional options check out our Hotel section here: https://www.accessible-japan.com/accessible-hotels-areas-japan/

    Also, I recently answered another post about Onsen in Kyoto area, though not quite as accessible, but you may want to check it out if you’re looking in the Kyoto area: https://www.accessible-japan.com/forums/topic/accessible-day-onsen/

    Anyway, if you do stay at any Onsen in Japan, please share your experiences with us on Accessible Japan.


    I hope that helps,


  • #6282


    I can only speak to my experience prior to my disability so in no way know a ton.  The Japanese have a saying ” 出る釘は打たれる “.  It means “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.”

    A few things I thought of as I read your post.  If an onsen is disabled friendly they may have a shower chair you can transfer to to clean before you go into the onsen.  I don’t think any onsen would allow you to enter without first cleaning as they is a huge faux pas.

    Also please check with a medical professional regarding the suitably of onsen and your condition.  I know my condition allows my lower half to burn easily as I don’t get the feedback that the area is too hot and onsen are very hot.

    As for ryokan I think this would also be very hard to find.  Most ryokan are small and family operated and as a result don’t cater for wheelchairs.  If there is any upstairs component you can almost guarantee that there will not be a lift.  Given that ryokan are meant to be authentic I can’t see them having western style beds or raised tables.  Another thing I do not know what they would think about is a wheelchair on tatami mats.  Given that your wheels act like shoes they may dislike this as it would bring in dirt just like peoples shoes.



  • #6284



    Thanks Schroth.Sensei!

    As Senpai pointed out, cleaning is very important and if entering a communal bath you will likely need to leave your wheelchair at the change room.  So, either the in-room bath or a private bath “貸切風呂” (“kashikiri buro”) may be best. (It is also sometimes called a “family bath” because the whole family can use it together instead of splitting up men/women.)

    I have been to Pax Yoshino (https://www.pax-yoshino.com/barrierfree/) and used the private bath there and could get my wheelchair right up to the bath.  HOWEVER, even though I stayed in their “accessible” room, the door to the bath was too narrow!

    In Tokyo, there is an accessible sento that has grab bars in the large bath, but also a private bath: http://mikokuyu.com/family

    I know a group up in Yamagata that is run by a guy with a disability that can possible help arrange equipment and a location for you.

    As the population is aging here, things are getting better and accessibility at onsen/sento is becoming more of a topic.  There is even a book on accessible onsen: https://amzn.to/2OBMJ0U

    I know the author and hopefully we can get an English version out someday!

    Know there are challenges, but don’t give up!

  • #6285


    Thank you all for the wonderful advice! The Fuji Lake Hotel looks almost perfect, I’m going to remember that. I’ve considered the private bath options, but to be honest, that dosen’t appeal to me as much. They look cramped and stuffy. Part of my goal in trying these out is to get the cultural experience of an outdoor setting. Of course, this will be something I’ll look into more if I actually plan a trip. For now, I just wanted to know if there were even somewhat accessible options.

  • #6286


    Glad to help.

    By the way, the private bath at Pax Yoshino is actually open – sort of like being on a terrace with one wall open.  (Though there is a roof on it as well, so only partially open.)

  • #6313


    A girl I have subbed to uploaded this Youtube video today.  It is an example of a barrier free room in Shizuoka.  Shizuoka is known for its tea and great views of Fujisan.  The video is pretty interesting and the way the personal bath works is pretty interesting.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drLXNzRMEV4



  • #6314


    I’ve been meaning to go!  Now I really want to!


  • #6319


    That Shizuoka bath is next level. Japan blows my mind sometimes. On the topic of chair lifts, how common are they. Like I said, in America all public pools must have them, which is great because I’m able to swim in literally any hotel pool I want. However, the only  one I can find in japan is at the Fuji lake hotel. The private baths look great, but if they don’t have lifts then there’s still an issue. I can walk short distances up and down stairs if there are grab bars, but there’s always a risk of slipping and falling. Worst case scenario for me would be bringing a caregiver or someone to help carry me, but that does not sound great lol. Thank you all for the info!

  • #6322



    Hotel pools are very uncommon here.  If there is space for something like that, it would likely be used for a communal bath instead.

    American hotels like Hilton are the exception.  However, I have NEVER seen a pool lift outside of rehabilitation pools here in Japan.  Some community pools may have a ramp and a waterproof wheelchair though.

    Being carried in the sento/onsen requires the caregiver to be naked as well.  So, you better be close to them!

  • #6323


    Yeah, it’s a shame that they haven’t thought to add lifts to more bathing areas. I wish japan and America could just like, have a little chat and exchange ideas lol.

  • #6325


    Totally agree!

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