One recent Sunday, 7-year-old Yukito Takanashi of Tokyo was dribbling a soccer ball on a makeshift field. At one point, he put on an eye mask like those worn by blind soccer players. But he took it off after a while, feeling somewhat uncomfortable.

The boy, who has experience playing the game with other children who, like himself, have autism, said it was "difficult" to play with his eyes covered.

"It's a good chance to learn about the struggles people with disabilities go through that most people fail to notice in their daily lives," Takanashi's father, Ryoichi, 32, said. "(Trying it for yourself) can trigger empathy and will make you feel more respectful toward people who are struggling (with disabilities) but are active (in society)."