Bringing Accessible Japan To Those With Special Needs – Hokkaido

Konnichiwa (Hello)! Hisashiburi (It’s been a while)! The rainy season in Japan are finally over and summer is here. Summer in Japan can be scorching hot with temperatures rising up to 40 degrees Celsius! We have good news for those who want to escape the heat and still be able to view flowers. Yes, you read it right, you can actually view flowers in the summer. This can be done in Hokkaido! The Hokkaido prefecture is the most northern prefecture and one of the largest prefecture in Japan. Due to its northern location, temperatures at Hokkaido are much lower compared to the rest of Japan during summer with temperatures generally at below 30 degrees Celsius. Without further a due, let’s explore the barrier free sites!

1. Barrier-free Tourism in Hokkaido

barrier-free tourism in Hokkaido
(Source: https://www.hokkaido-ut.com/ja/)

A site managed by the NPO Hokkaido Universal Tourism Promotion Council, the website is available in 23 languages! English is of course one of them. The site allows you to search for information based on the area or your purpose of visit. Unfortunately, most of the information now (excluding information on hotels) is centralized on Sapporo, the capital city of Hokkaido. Nevertheless, the information provided is quite extensive and quite easy to understand. The site uses pictogram to show the barrier-free facilities available at the area searched.

Universal Tourism Promotion Council
(Source: https://www.hokkaido-ut.com/ja/area-search/sapporo/sapporo-2.html )

There’s also description to the pictogram on the site.


(Source: https://www.hokkaido-ut.com/ja/howtouse.html?faqid=6)

Moreover under the Map Search feature, the website introduces tourist centres at certain areas which provides barrier-free services such as tours and rental of wheelchairs.

tourist center information
(Source: https://www.hokkaido-ut.com/ja/serchmap/sapporo-map.html)

You can also send a request to rent wheelchairs and strollers through the website prior to your arrival at Hokkaido.

wheelchair rental
(Source: http://hokkaido-ut.com/ja/tourist-info/tourdesk-spk.html)

Another feature of the site which is most helpful is that it offers links to medical institutions in Hokkaido.

medical information
(Source: https://www.hokkaido-ut.com/en/information/hospital.html)

2. Accessible Travel Kamui-Daisetsu Hokkaido

Accessible Travel Kamui Daisetsu Hokkaido
(Source: https://kamui-daisetsu.org/barrierfree/public/portal/summary/pref/01/local/1/category/3?la=1)

This is a website supported by Kamui Daisetsu Barrier-free tour center which is operated by NPO Kamui Daisetsu Barrier-free Research. Information is separated into areas and categories. The areas available are Dohoku (North), Doto (East), Do-o (Central) and Donan (South) whereas the categories are separated in sightseeing, hotel, shopping, fun, restroom, facility and transportation.

Each of the spot introduced uses a pictogram similar to the website provided by 1. Barrier-free Tourism in Hokkaido above.

Example of Accessibility Information
(Source: https://kamui-daisetsu.org/barrierfree/public/portal/summary/pref/01/local/1/category/2?la=1)

Under the [Detail] button, the site provides photographs of the location, the address, the official website of the spot as well as the access. There is also a summary of the accessibility information as per below.

Accessibility Information Summary
(Source: https://kamui-daisetsu.org/barrierfree/public/portal/detail/survey/tourist_facility/id/20/page/1/actflg/2?la=1)

The tour center offers barrier-free tours in English as well. The brochure is available here.

3. Japan Universal and Design Tourism Association

Japan Universal and Design Tourism Association
(Source: http://www.juta.jp/)

Although this site is fully in Japanese, the owner of the site, Japan Universal and Design Tourism Association, not only offers barrier free tours, they also organize seminars for those who are interested in offering barrier-free support to those with special needs. A person interested to be a supporter can go through the seminars to obtain a license. Those who are interested to take a tour must register as a user under the association. The association will then discuss with you to personally design the tour based on your needs.

Besides that, the association has established a one-stop consultation desk, “Sapporo barrier free tour center” so that users can obtain information on barrier free tourism easily.

Our Hokkaido segment has come to an end. If you have any information about barrier free travels, please do share with us! We look forward to hearing from you.