How to Enjoy Kyoto with Disabilities

January 14, 2019

by Ema Maeda

People with disabilities have so many obstacles to sightsee the heritage sites because might not have services, such as a useable toilet or paths for wheelchairs.


Kyoto city is promoting universal tourism in cooperation with private organizations in order to develop an accepting environment where everyone, including elderly people and people with disabilities, can enjoy Kyoto sightseeing comfortably.



  • Kiyomizu Temple


Kiyomizu temple is located in the middle of Mt. Okuyama, so they will have many slopes and stone bumps. Although 5 million people visit the temple in a year, and those who are using wheelchairs were more than 2,000, a considerable number of people, including elderly people, are forced to stop and give up because of this slope and bumpy stone road.

Therefore, the temple has tried to accommodate the ideas “to accept all people”, and, “to visit anyone” especially to honor the goddess Kannon, who is the main deity of the temple. They have started a barrier-free service by making an effort to repave the roads so that they are smooth, rather than bumpy, and established the slope. It became easy to go around the precincts even in a wheelchair.



  • Usually, an adult needs 300 yen per person but with a handicapped identification, the handicapped person and one companion are admitted free of charge.
  • There are 2 handicapped access toilets in the temple grounds.

    the view of stage

    Kiyomizudera stage

Buddha statues

The view of the main hall of Kyomizu stage. This photo is taken from another  . Unfortunately, they are not able to go on the stage in the picture.

It is Buddha statue of stones. This place is not a famous sightseeing course. There are more than 100  .



You can also see the Tofuku-ji temple from a wheelchair, which is one of Kyoto’s foremost sightseeing destinations for viewing autumn leaves. There are parts with steps and gradients in the famous “Uneme bridge” and “Tonto bridge”, but sightseeing in a wheelchair is also possible if there are assistants. The inside of the precinct is almost flat and pavement roads are running around, so the wheelchair can be easily rotated. There are no particular problems as long as you choose a shallow place and pass through, such as in the vicinity of the hall and around the temple. Because you can rent a wheel chair, the elderly, people with mobility problems, other issues can enjoy sightseeing if they are accompanied. In addition, pamphlets describing the precincts are available in several languages



  • Rent the wheelchair for free.
  • Usually an adult needs 400 yen per person but if you have handicapped identification, you and people who accompany you are free of charge.
  • Near the reception desk, there is multitask toilet.

    Tofuku-ji hallway

・When travelling by wheelchair

When traveling by wheelchair, it is convenient to use a sightseeing taxi. The autumnal leaves season is crowded with many tourists in particular, so sightseeing taxis can save you the trouble of securing parking space and you can move smoothly. In addition, local drivers familiar with the sightseeing spots of Kyoto can also tell you various information. Depending on the location, if you have a handicapped person, you can use the disaster prevention road inside the temple, so you can contact and procedure. It is safe for those who are new to Kyoto with wheelchair tourism.


  • Points for visiting at a temple by wheelchair

In the temples in Kyoto, there are many cases where the approach is narrow, and it is difficult to go forward. In such a case, you can move smoothly as you move with the wheelchair facing backward with the wheelchair facing backwards. Also, please check that the wheelchair tires are firmly inflated when you go out to travel. It’s hard to push hard if the air is low, and the effectiveness of the brake will also become worse.









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