Mobility Issue in Kyoto and Osaka

Old Feb 16th, 2016, 06:30 PM
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Mobility Issue in Kyoto and Osaka

I am recovering from knee surgery and cannot walk long distances or stairs. Is it possible for me to visit
Nijo Castle, Kyoto Imperial Palace, Katsura Imperial Villa or Himeji Castle? Also any suggestions on which temples to visit?

Thanks for all input.
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Old Feb 16th, 2016, 07:19 PM
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I'm pretty sure that I remember seeing someone in a wheelchair at magnificent Nijo-jo, but I could be wrong!

As for Himeji-jo, well, I don't think you would be able to visit the interior. I'm not sure how accessible the exterior is, but if you are willing to see only the exterior, and if you pace yourself carefully, you might be able to appreciate some of its amazing external details.

My recollection of the Katsura Rikyu -- the one in Kyoto -- is that the walkway used for tourist visits was more or less flat, but not necessarily easy in a wheelchair (because of rough surfaces). You might be able to pace yourself, but I believe that a visit is possible only as part of a guided tour, and my recollection is that there were long pauses at particularly noteworthy places with rapid walks in between. Maybe the guides would accommodate you? You might try contacting them to ask....

I didn't visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace.

As I recall, Heian Jingu is rather flat, but I think you would need to walk, as again, I think the paths would not be easy with a wheelchair.

I think Sanjusangendo might also be a good choice.

While doing a quick google search to see if my advice was on-point, I found this website. I can't speak to it's merits, other than to say that reading a few descriptions is consistent with my recollections.
http://www.japan-accessible.com/city/kyoto.htm

I hope this information helps, and good luck with your recovery!
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Old Feb 17th, 2016, 03:49 AM
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Thank you so much, and the web site is exactly what I need.
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Old Feb 17th, 2016, 03:50 PM
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Nijo-jo is not built up, it's built out - so it's a complex with a lot of buildings but not issues of verticality (contra Himeji or Matsumoto). Osaka Castle is a rebuild and modern so it has an elevator. Himeji is a sprawling complex with hills and stairs. It won't be easy but if you build up to it and go slow you might be able to toddle around. If you can, do it.

Sanjusangendo should work. It's single-story. It's also well worth your while. The Ninnaji and Ryoanji complexes should also work - the "to-see" items are on the ground floors of the buildings you can enter.

Kiyomizudera won't - hills and stairs. Ditto Fushimi Inari - hills and stairs again.
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Old Feb 17th, 2016, 08:14 PM
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I'm a bit less sanguine than BigRuss about Ryoanji -- I seem to recall a very steep set of stairs, but I could easily be wrong. Ninna-ji might be a good choice, though!
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Old Feb 19th, 2016, 02:09 AM
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Again, I thank you all so much. I was trying to decide on either visiting the Forbidden City-Palace in Beijing or going to Japan. From what I have read it seems that I would be able to see some of the places in Japan, so I have made my plans to go to Osaka and Kyoto. One other question, we can either fly to Tokyo and take the train round-trip, or fly to Osaka and take the train one-way back to Tokyo. Any thoughts?
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Old Feb 19th, 2016, 03:40 AM
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If you are limited on how much time you have on the ground and/ or it doesn't cost substantially more to do so, I'd definitely do the open jaw flights, to give you more time sightseeing and less time travelling... that's my tuppence anyway.

As it happens, for both my previous trips and for our upcoming trip, our best options for flights were in / out of Tokyo so we did the circular route and it was fine.
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Old Feb 19th, 2016, 05:05 PM
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Do I recall correctly that you have only 3 days? If so, I would visit EITHER Kyoto (flying into Kansai or nearby) OR Tokyo (flying into Narita or nearby), NOT both.

If you are determined to do both with so little time, definitely fly open-jaw (into one and out of the other).
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Old Feb 20th, 2016, 02:19 AM
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Oh gosh, I didn't realise you had only three days!!!

In that case, I agree with Kja, I'd do ONE city only, for sure. Why lose a substantial chunk of the limited time available to travel when there's so so so much to see in either Tokyo or Kyoto?!
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Old Feb 21st, 2016, 05:58 PM
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If you're looking for suggestions on which temples to visit in Kyoto, I have to say that my favorites are Kinkaku-ji and Chion-in. Kinkaku-ji is also known as the golden Pavilion - because it is covered in real gold (leaf). They say that if you ever travel to another country, you should go to Japan, and if you go to Japan, you should go to Kyoto, and if you go to Kyoto, you must see Kinkaku-ji.

Chion-in is probably my absolute favorite temple in all of Japan. It's relatively easy to get to, there are a lot of things you can see on the way to/from your visit, and it's very peaceful, even during peak periods.

For Chion-in - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iHTawLnI9s
For Kinkaku0ji - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iHTawLnI9s
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Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 04:22 PM
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Well, I'm in the minority about Kinkaku-ji - it's nice but . . . Ok.

It's also really out of the way and may be hard for you to reach depending upon your mobility issues - the street leading up to it is at a steep pitch. You need to really investigate Chion-in - lots of stairs . . .

I'd take Kyoto > Tokyo. Not a real close call.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 10:45 PM
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Not the minority Russ, or at least if you are, I'm in it too!

Kinkaju-ji was something I'm glad I visited but not remotely near the top of the list of temples we visited in Kyoto. The gold is pretty as are the reflections in the water but for me the big appeal of many other temples was the observation of local culture, of people interacting with the various areas of the temple, and of the calmness I felt within some of them. Kinkaju-ji is much more of a forced-route walk, not quite conveyor belt as you go at your own speed, but certainly not somewhere that made me want to linger.

I loved Yasui Konpira-gu Shrine, for the The Stone of Breaking and Bonding, the tiny Yasaka Koshin-do for the unusual hanging kukurizaru and the three monkeys, Yasaka Shrine for the people watching and my introduction by a gang of school girls into using the fortune sticks to be assigned a piece of paper with my fortune on it, which I then tied to the strings provided. And we didn't see much of Kennin-ji because some of it was being renovated, but some of the smaller side gardens and properties in the complex were very pretty.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 10:46 PM
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Oh oh and Tenryuji Temple, I adored the grounds here particularly.
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Old Feb 25th, 2016, 12:27 PM
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>

When we were there it was conveyor belt. Slow conveyor belt at that. ;-)

And we were more amused by (1) the carp trying to jump over the turtles at the pond's edge to get food people dropped than by the temple in the middle of the drink that we couldn't do anything but ogle from shore and (2) the tons of vending machines right outside the entrance because in Japan even at a temple entrance, you'll find a truckload of vending machines.
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Old Feb 26th, 2016, 06:31 AM
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Well, that probably depends on season too. In late October, was pretty busy but not peak peak. It was kind of conveyor belt except one could go at slower speed than others, just about.
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Old Feb 26th, 2016, 08:32 AM
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Your experience of crowds would match the tourism statistics.

2015 saw 19.7 million visitors, up 47% over 2014 (biggest ever increase).
5 million of those were from China, up 100%.
1 million were from USA.

http://www.tourism.jp/en/statistics/inbound/
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Old Feb 26th, 2016, 11:44 PM
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Wow, that's a huge increase. I thought it would be because of a huge drop in 2011 but that only took it back to 2003 levels, it's been a really steep upward curve with that exception!
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