Plan a Vacation in Autism Friendly Japan
Updated: Mar 27
Have you always wanted to take a vacation in Japan, but are nervous your autistic family isn’t up for the challenge? Well, I want to relieve those fears! Japan is very autism-friendly if you have your vacation planned accordingly. By now, you probably know that I have two autistic boys. I have traveled to many destinations with my boys. They are the loves of my life. Each trip with them hasn’t been extremely easy. But I have taken every precaution I could during the planning stages to make it easier for everyone. The best part is I use the things I have learned to help autistic families like yours! Having walked in similar shoes as yours, I know what it takes to plan an autism-friendly vacation. I would love to connect with you and talk about how I can help you take an amazing autism-friendly vacation in Japan.
While we are waiting for our meeting time, you may want to learn a little bit more of what you can expect during a vacation in Japan. Today, I am going to share information on where to consider staying, as well as what attractions to visit. I will also discuss transportation and a few tips that will make this your best trip yet as an autistic family.
Let’s get started!
Plan a Vacation in Autism Friendly Japan
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Where to Stay During a Vacation in Japan
I love staying in ryokans while in Japan. Ryokans are traditional Japanese-style inns. You will discover that there are many ryokans attached to the theme parks and hot springs in Japan.
The reason I love staying in ryokans with my autistic sons is these inns are so much more than a place to lay our heads down at night. We get the opportunity to experience authentic Japanese hospitality, as well as their lifestyle.
Each room has tatami mats for flooring. They all have their own unique interior designs too. Futon beds and Japanese-style baths complete the look.
The best part about staying at a ryokan though is being introduced to many different local dishes. Breakfast and dinner are served at most ryokans. That means you will have ample opportunities to try new foods. Hopefully, your autistic child will be a willing participant too. If not, it isn’t something you will need to stress over.
Transportation in Japan
The Metro is the easiest way to move around the city of Tokyo. There are thirteen lines that run continuously all day long. During rush hour, the trains come speeding in every two or three minutes.
The Metro can be used to reach many of the major tourist attractions in Tokyo. This means you won’t need to find alternate transportation to check everything off your itinerary.
There are a couple of different ticket options for the Metro. You can purchase an individual ticket. However, I find the PASMO cards are much better. They are prepaid and rechargeable. You can use them at any ticket gate. These are perfect since you can easily add money to them as you need to.
The best part about the Metro is there is an app you can download. This app will allow you to look at the map, find stops, and so much more.
If you plan on exploring outside Tokyo, you will want to consider using Japan Railways. These trains can take you almost anywhere in the country.
Purchasing a Japan Rail Pass prior to your vacation in Japan will save you the most money. These passes can only be used by foreign tourists. You can easily travel by train for between one and three weeks for a very low price.
The rail passes are available in two forms. One is the ordinary rail pass, which is your normal ticket. The other is the green car rail pass. The green cars are considered first-class cars that offer more spacious seating. Those passes may be beneficial for your autistic family.
Attractions in Japan for Autistic Families
Tokyo Disneyland is similar to all the other Disney Parks. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check out this magical destination in Tokyo!
An excellent way to get a feel for Tokyo Disneyland is to take a ride on the Omnibus. This bus will take you all around the plaza. It also gives you a glimpse of all the themed lands within the park.
Over in Adventureland, you can ride the Western River Railroad. Or take an adventure with pirates and Captain Jack Sparrow on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
A leisurely ride on the Rivers of America on the Mark Twain Riverboat might be just what you need for a little downtime. Thrills can be had on Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain.
You can’t leave Tokyo Disneyland without a whirl on the Castle Carousel. You should probably conquer “It’s a Small World” too.
The Electrical Parade, Dreamlights, is the perfect way to end any day at Disney. Add in the fireworks, if your autistic family wants to see them, and your kids may fall in bed once back in your room. If they don’t, you will at least have a lot to talk about!
Planning a trip to the Tokyo Disney Resort? Get your ticket here. Save yourself the trouble of trying to charge your card in Japan or calling the Tokyo Disneyland Resort to get support getting your tickets.
Over at Tokyo DIsneySea, your family can wander through seven themed lands. Although, they are actually called ports of call in this Disney Park.
The ports of call are:
Lost River Delta
This is an excellent theme park that combines rides with water adventures. The Venetian Gondolas will take your family through the canals. Aquatopia, Nemo & Friends SeaRider, and the DisneySea Transit Steamer Line will all take your family out on the water too.
The kids won’t want to leave Crush, the sea turtle, over at Turtle Talk. No one will be able to resist the magic performed over at The Magic Lamp Theater.
Both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea offer support to those guests with disabilities. However, it won’t be as amazing as what you will find at Disney Parks in the US.
Guests with disabilities will need to show an official disability certificate, as well as their passports. You will need to take those items to either Main Street House at Tokyo Disneyland or Guest Relations at Tokyo DisneySea.