Emergencies and Urgent Care
Japanese Hospitals and Clinics
Japan is highly regarded for its advanced level in medicine and medical technology. Hospitals and clinics use only the latest medical equipment. You have the option, depending on the seriousness and urgency of your illness, to choose the appropriate hospital (university hospital, general hospital or clinic).
When you visit a clinic or a hospital for the first time, you will need to fill out a registration form, present your health insurance card and sometimes pay a fee for the initial visit. To avoid any problems, you should check first to see if you need an appointment and what type of insurance they accept. It is always a good policy to carry your insurance card, in the event of an emergency.
Finding a Hospital
If you are using National Health Insurance, and do not have your insurance card with you, you will need to pay 100% of the bill, but you can present your insurance card at a later date to recover the payment. See “Health Insurance” to see what type of insurance you qualify for.
Medical Reference Hotlines
Here are some useful organizations to help you search for medical assistance.
A multi-lingual telephone service that provides information on medical care and hospitals in Japan that offer English-speaking staff.
Phone: 03-5285-8088 | Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm, Mon-Fri
Himawari is a search engine for hospitals and clinics in Tokyo. You can also call to search for hospitals that have English speaking staff.
Phone: 03-5285-8181 | Hours: 9:00am-8:00pm, Daily
This is a non-profit 24 hour nationwide emergency assistance service to foreign residents in Japan. They provide advice on anything from a simple question, to an emergency situation.
Phone: 0570-000-911 | Hours: 24 hrs., Daily
TELL offers anonymous telephone counseling in English for the international and Japanese community. Trained telephone counselors provide support on a wide range of issues.
Phone: 03-5774-0992 | Hours: 9:00am-11:00pm, Daily
Licensed/certified team of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and counselors provide confidential counseling. Other services include exceptional parenting, child protection, workshops and EAP programs.
A primary resource for finding qualified psychotherapists and counselors serving the international community in Japan. Wide range of services in multiple languages.
Japan has two main public health insurance systems: the Employees’ Health Insurance and the National Health Insurance. All residents, including foreigners, who have an address in Japan must join one of the Japanese public health insurance systems regardless of whether they have a private insurance or not. If you have joined one of them, you and your immediate family will only need to pay 30% of the medical fee. Some services such as health check-ups, comprehensive medical examinations (Ningen-dock), dental check-ups and special operations such as implants may not be covered by insurance, so it is advisable to always inquire first. There is also a system called Kogaku Ryoyohi Seido (High Cost Medical Fees) in which the portion of medical expenses that exceeds the established limit of medical expenses paid in a single month is reimbursed. For details refer to the Social Insurance Agency.
Employees’ Health Insurance
Kenko-Hoken (Employees’ Health Insurance) is a workplace-based health insurance system for company employees and their dependents. Your premium is based on your income, and will be split equally between you and your company. Your company will deduct the payment from your salary every month.
National Health Insurance
Private insurance, aimed at expatriates in Japan, is also available. This will cover special treatments which the public medical insurance does not cover, such as cancer treatment, high-tech medical treatments, hospitalization and even treatments received while overseas. Because medical expenses can easily increase without any health/medical insurance, it is highly recommended you register with one of the insurance systems.
Hospitals in Japan that accept foreign insurance may have differing policies. Please check with the hospital directly to learn what their policy is.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen mainly of cedar (February through April) and Japanese cypress (May). Symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes. They can be minimized or prevented by consulting a doctor for prescription drugs, or by using over the counter medicine like eye drops. Wearing masks and glasses, gargling, washing your face, not leaving your laundry outside or leaving your windows and doors open, are also effective.
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