This site is operated by JIGH as a commissioned project in collaboration with Ministry of Health Labour, and Welfare to secure quality of medical institutions that accept foreign patients.

FAQ

Common Questions

Many medical institutions are accessible without appointments during daytime on weekdays, but on weekends and during nights, the number of accessible medical institutions are limited and you need to find medical institutions which provide emergency care. We recommend you to utilize our "Medical institution search" page, on which we list websites where you can search medical institutions that offer services in foreign languages. For symptoms that require ambulance and how to call ambulance, please check with "kyuukyuusha manual (Making the most of the ambulance service) (in English/Chinese/Korean)" for more details.

We recommend you to utilize our "Medical institution search" page, on which we list websites where you can search medical institutions that offer services in foreign languages.

The number of hospitals that offer medical services with smooth communication in English is limited. We recommend you to utilize our "Medical institution search" page, on which we list websites where you can search medical institutions that offer services in foreign languages.

It varies depending on medical institution. It may require additional time or cost even in the cases when they can issue such certificate, so it is advisable to ask medical institution that you are going to visit.

Relatively large number of medical institutions provide medical care on Saturday mornings. But on weekends or at night, most of medical institutions usually do not offer medical care, so you need to visit emergency outpatient department. When you visit emergency outpatient department, you may be required to pay out-of-hours charge and to wait longer to be treated, so for low urgency cases, it can be better to wait until weekday morning. Please judge according to the degree of the symptoms.

Many female doctors work at Japanese medical institutions, but in many cases, clinical department or clinical time of female doctors can be limited and vary depending on institution. If you strongly desire to see a female doctor, check with medical institution and make sure before visiting.

It varies widely depending on treatment or clinical department, but it usually takes less time at clinics than at large hospitals. When you visit a large hospital without appointment, it may take several hours or half a day. We recommend to visit doctor's office or clinic first if symptoms are mild.

It varies depending on medical institution. Most clinics accept patients without appointments. On the other hand, most large hospitals require to make appointments. Even the case of large hospitals that accept patients without appointment, you may be required to pay additional costs if you don't have a referral letter. We recommend to visit clinic first if symptoms are mild.

It varies widely depending on symptoms or treatment. For a patient who has Japanese health insurance visits a clinic during regular clinic hours with mild symptoms such as a cold to get only a doctor's consultation (no examinations or treatments) and prescription for drugs, it usually cost a few thousand yen, depending on their age and their financial conditions. There also will be costs for prescription drugs. If the person visit a hospital with 200 beds of more out of their regular hours, or at their emergency outpatient department, or without a referral letter, additional payments possibly may be required ranging from a few thousand yen to a several tens of thousands of yen. Medical support is available for a person with Japanese health insurance with high medical bills, so please consult with your hospital about it. For a patient without Japanese health insurance, pricing of medical care costs vary depending on medical institutions. If you are concerned about medical cost, please check with medical institution before visiting.

It is possible to seek medical care even if you do not have Japanese health insurance, but it is required to pay all medical expenses and it could become very high. People who are going to stay in Japan for more than three months (excluding people staying with medical visa or ieplomatic/government official visa) are required to enlist in Japanese health insurance.

If you have Japanese health insurance, make sure to bring your health insurance card and ID (residence card, passport etc.) If you have a referral letter from a medical institution, please bring them as well. If you do not have Japanese health insurance, please bring your ID. If you are a temporary visitor and have any travel insurance or medical insurance, please bring certificates of such insurance.

You cannot buy medication without seeing a doctor at Japanese medical institutions. For medication that require prescription, you need to get a medical attention by a doctor. Some drugs are available without prescription at pharmacies, but number of such medication is limited. It is recommended to contact pharmacies or medical institutions for availability. Also please note that it is possible that the medication you have been taking is not available to purchase because it not approved in Japan.

Medical institutions in Japan are roughly divided into two types: Local clinics that take care of mild cases and hospitals that take care of moderate to severe cases. Clinics have less than 19 beds and patients with mild symptoms visit them. Meanwhile, medical institutions with over 20 beds are hospitals, and large scale hospitals with over 200 beds are well equipped for hospitalization or examination.
When visiting large hospitals with over 200 beds without referral letter from clinic etc., you could be required to pay extra cost or to wait longer hours. If your symptoms are mild and low in urgency, it is recommended to visit a clinic in regular hours. If the doctor at the clinic finds that it is necessary to get special medical treatment, get referral letter from the doctor and visit larger hospital to get special medical treatment.

It is possible for residents with Japanese health insurance to get various aids depending on their conditions. Please contact counseling staff of medical institution. People residing outside Japan are required to pay all medical expenses, so it is recommended to obtain travel insurance etc. before the arrival in Japan. Some insurances are available to purchase at airports in Japan after the arrival.

Resident Status

When you have Japanese public insurance, medical expenses are nationally uniform per treatment or per examination, and you can get medical care by paying 30% of your medical expenses. People who are going to stay in Japan for more than three months (excluding people staying with medical visa or diplomatic/government official visa) are required to enlist in Japanese health insurance, and there are two kinds of insurance: Insurance for people who work for companies or businesses and the national health insurance for the rest. If you visit medical institution without Japanese health insurance, you are required to pay all your medical expenses and could become very high. For more detailed explanation, please refer to "Multlingual Living Information "Medical"" etc. created by Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR).

People who are going to stay in Japan for more then three months (excluding people staying with medical visa or diplomatic/government official visa) are required to enlist in Japanese health insurance. Please enlist in the national health insurance unless you are an employee covered by company's insurance, a dependent family member of such employee or a recipient of welfare aid. For more details, please contact your employer or your local government.

You can visit medical institution, but the amount you need to pay will get higher. You need to pay only 30% of total medical cost if you visit with your health insurance card, but 100% if you do not have one. Even if you pay 100% of your medical bill because you did not bring your health insurance card, you may be reimbursed for the amount overpaid if you process the claim with necessary documents such as health insurance card, receipt etc. Please check with your medical institution.

When you find yourself pregnant, please report it to your local government as soon as possible. You will receive a Mother and Child Handbook as well as vouchers for prenatal checkups funded by public money, consultation with public health nurse and other various kinds of information at the government service desk. Many medical institutions allow you to book for your delivery in early stages of pregnancy. It is recommended to consult with medical institution of you choice for delivery early to have your delivery smoothly.

In principle, you are allowed if it is for the treatment of your disease. But if the quantity of such drug exceed the fixed quantity, it is necessary to get permission beforehand. Also it is prohibited to send product containing the designated ingredients such as narcotics etc. to Japan from overseas even if it is medical product. In addition, it is not allowed to sell or transfer imported medical products to others. For more detailed information, please see Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare web pages below.

(Information for those who are bringing medicines for personal use into Japan)
https://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/policy/health-medical/pharmaceuticals/01.html
(Import narcotics or other controlled substances by carrying)
http://www.ncd.mhlw.go.jp/en/index.html

Visitors

Very few medical institution accept cashless payment for medical services. In most of the cases, you are required to pay your medical expense at the medical institution and to request your insurance company to reimburse, so please prepared to pay in full. At medical institutions that have agreement with your insurance company may accept cashless payment. Please check with your insurance company which medical institution accept cashless payment.

Large hospitals and medical institutions in urban area accept credit cards, but most of clinics and medical institutions in local area accept cash only. Check with the medical institution in advance or visit them with cash that you can afford. Medical institutions that accept smartphone payment are very scarce.

Japanese health insurance is for residents staying in Japan for more than three months. Temporary visitors cannot enlisted in Japanese health insurance. If you know that you need treatment, get such treatment in your own country or consider getting non-insured treatment. For more details, please contact medical institutions that accept patients from outside Japan for medical purposes or international medical coordinators (guarantors for foreigners applying for medical visas) etc.
Please see the list of "Japan International Hospitals (JIH)" for hospitals which is actively working toward accepting foreign patients who wish to receive medical care or health check-ups/medical examinations in Japan.

In principle, you are allowed if it is for the treatment of your disease. But if the quantity of such drug exceed the fixed quantity, it is necessary to get permission beforehand. Also certain medication are not allowed to bring into Japan depending on their kind even if it is medical product. In addition, it is not allowed to sell or transfer imported medical products to others. For more detailed information, please see Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare web pages below.

(Information for those who are bringing medicines for personal use into Japan)
https://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/policy/health-medical/pharmaceuticals/01.html
(Import narcotics or other controlled substances by carrying)
http://www.ncd.mhlw.go.jp/en/index.html