I have always wanted to visit Japan’s most important religious site – The Grand Shrine at Ise. It is dedicated to Amaterasu Omikami, the sun goddess and ancestor to the Imperial Family.
The only problem is it is really far from Tokyo! 3.5 hrs by train!
But it is worth it!
The shrine is actually a number of different shrines centered on two main shrines – the Outer Shrine (Geku) and Inner Shrine (Naiku). The Outer Shrine is near Ise City Station (about a 10 minute walk), and the Inner Shrine is a 20 minute bus ride from there.
The train station and bus are fully accessible.
Both shrines have lots of gravel, so they have rental power wheelchairs.
Unfortunately, the controller is at the back, so you need someone to help drive 🙁
The Outer Shrine is more accessible as only one area (that is less significant) is up steps. The main shrine (dedicated to Toyo’uke Omikami who provides food to Amaterasu) is accessible.
Unfortunately, The Inner Shrine has steps at both of the main shrine buildings, so it is only possible to see the shrine from the bottom.
However, even if you go up the steps, the actual shrine is blocked from view by fences. So, wheelchair users don’t miss too much.
There is a nice town by the Inner Shrine where all the buildings are in a tradition style from the Edo Period.
If you are looking to stay over night, try Comfort Hotel Ise which has the only accessible room: https://www.accessible-japan.com/hotels/japan/mie/ise/low-range/comfort-hotel-ise/
The area is still relatively undiscovered by foreign tourists, and is nice place to visit if you are looking for something more off the beaten path!
You can read more details on accessibility here: https://www.accessible-japan.com/places/japan/mie/ise/attractions/ise-grand-shrine/