What to Do When Sick or Injured in Japan

For common complaints including cold, flu and allergy symptoms, you may prefer to buy medicines directly from a drugstore (see below). If you think you need to see a doctor, follow the steps on this page.

Before using medical facilities in Japan, it is important to be aware of the following
  • If you do not have Japanese public health insurance you will be required to pay for all treatment in full
  • If you have travel health insurance, you must pay for treatment upfront then apply for reimbursement from the insurance company
  • Most medical facilities take payments in cash. If you wish to pay by card, confirm the option is available beforehand
  • General Practitioners are not common in Japan. It is necessary to choose the kind of doctor you wish to visit based on your condition

1. Find a hospital or clinic

To find a hospital that can communicate in English:

  1. Call one of the numbers or search on web in the Medical Reference Hotline
  2. Ask hotel staff or tour guides
  3. If you have travel health insurance, contact your insurance company to get information on facilities you can use.

2. Reception and Consultation

When you find a suitable clinic or hospital, the first stop is reception.

  1. Explain the reason for your visit
  2. Present your Japanese health insurance card. If you do not have one, you may be asked to confirm that you understand you will need to pay in full for your treatment.
  3. If you wish to pay by card and the option is available, you may be asked for your card.
  4. Fill in the required forms detailing symptoms and medical history.
  5. Hand over the forms and wait for your name to be called. For facilities without an appointment system, patients are seen in the order they arrived.
  6. Go to the examination room as directed, and speak with the doctor.
  7. Undergo any necessary tests or treatment.
  8. If you need medication, you will be given a prescription to be filled.

3. Payment

When you leave the examination room, you will need to pay for the consultation and any tests or treatment undergone. Large hospitals will have a dedicated payment counter, while smaller facilities will take payment at reception. If you have Japanese public health insurance, you will pay 30% of your medical fees. If not, you will need to pay for the full cost. If you have travel health insurance, you should request the forms you will need to have your fees reimbursed.

4. Collecting prescriptions

The procedure for prescriptions differs among medical facilities. Some hospitals and clinics will dispense medicines directly, and in this case you will pay for your consultation and prescription at once. In most cases, you will receive a prescription form from reception and be directed to a nearby pharmacy where you can collect and pay for your medication.