comscore Popular English website for disabled tourists aims high | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Popular English website for disabled tourists aims high


    “I’d like to introduce information on tourist spots from the viewpoint of a disabled person,” says Accessible Japan website founder Barry Joshua Grisdale. He is shown April 4, 2018, at his job at Azalee Edogawa Intensive Care Nursing Home in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo.

TOKYO >> An English website that offers detailed information on accessibility for disabled people at sightseeing spots in Japan is earning positive reviews.

Accessible Japan ( was created by Barry Joshua Grisdale, from Canada, who uses a wheelchair.

Grisdale, 37, of Edogawa Ward, Tokyo, visits tourist locations and summarizes the inconveniences he encounters on the website.

Grisdale developed cerebral palsy when he was 6 months old. He began to have difficulty moving his hands and legs and started using an electric wheelchair at around age 4.

As a high school student in Canada, he met a teacher knowledgeable about Japan and became interested in the country.

Grisdale said he used to watch movies directed by Akira Kurosawa and TV shows starring Takuya Kimura.

He traveled to Japan for the first time in 2000, visiting Sensoji temple in Taito Ward, Tokyo, and other spots.

He recalled an incident at a subway station during the trip where he could not go down the stairs in a wheelchair and did not know what to do.

A station employee asked him if he needed help, and six people carried him on his wheelchair — which weighs more than 220 pounds — down the stairs.

“I was so glad to receive such hospitality, which is typical of Japan,” he said.

Grisdale moved to Edogawa Ward in 2007 and has been website manager for Azalee Edogawa Intensive Care Nursing Home since 2012.

On his days off, he visited sightseeing spots across the country but because of a lack of English information for disabled tourists he launched the Accessible Japan website in 2015.

The website provides information on 50 locations, including Ueno Park, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and Tokyo Skytree.

In addition to information on the sites’ attractions, the website overviews restrooms for the disabled, subway station exits with elevators and the size of toilets at hotels, and other relevant details.

“By introducing Japan’s attractions to disabled people abroad, I want to express my gratitude to the Japanese people who have helped me,” he said.

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