Outside normal clinic hours and on holidays, emergency clinics are the first place to visit if your condition is not serious enough to need an ambulance but you need to seek medical help.
To find an emergency clinic, check the website of your local medical association, known as an Ishikai (医師会 いしかい). For example, if you live in Shibuya Ward, find the Shibuya-ku Ishikai page (Shibuya Ward Medical Association) and search for clinics and hospitals that are on duty. Many of these these websites are only available in Japanese.
Many emergency clinics are open from 6:00 pm until around 8:00 pm. On weekends and public holidays they are open typically 9:00am until 5:00pm.
It is recommended to call them before you visit to find out if they can accept you. Due to the limited number of staff and equipment, there is no guarantee that a clinic will be able to accept patients at a specific time.
After calling them to ensure they can treat you, visit the clinic. It may take longer than usual to see a doctor, but the basic process is the same as a regular clinic visit. Visit our Japanese Clinic page for an explanation of these procedures.
To help you prepare, JHI can make a list of emergency clinics in your area. We are unable to provide emergency assistance out of hours but our list will help guide where to go and provide tips on using emergency services in your area. Please contact us to request this service.
Major hospitals have emergency rooms that are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. These are mainly for patients in need of critical care. Patients who do not considered critical are often refused care and advised to visit an emergency clinic. Keep in mind, a doctor specializing in your condition may not be available at the time of your emergency visit.
Because of these factors, it can be difficult to find an appropriate major hospital to visit in case of an emergency.
Similar to emergency clinics, you can learn more about emergency hospitals through your local city’s official website. You should find a list of emergency hospitals that are available after-hours and on weekends.
If you are considering visiting the emergency room of a hospital, you have a better chance of being accepted if you have been as a patient before. We would still recommend calling the hospital before going there as the service or specialty you need may not be available or the emergency room may not be accepting patients if they are busy
Many hospitals have special entrances for after-hours and weekends, so it may be best to check with the hospital. It may take longer than usual to see a doctor, but the basic process is the same as a regular hospital visit. Visit our Japanese Hospital page for an explanation of these procedures.
If your condition is serious, call 119 for ambulance. Visit our Ambulance page for more details and advice on calling.
To help you prepare for an emergency, JHI can make a list of emergency hospitals in your area. The list will contain information of local emergency service systems, the hours they are available and which hospital to go to. Please contact us to request this service.
For details on what to do in the event of a mental health emergency, please visit our Mental Health page.
How much will it cost?
When you visit an emergency clinic or emergency room, you should bring your health insurance card and cash.
Japanese Health Insurance will cover treatment but extra fees are charged at emergency facilities so it is recommended to bring more money than usual. Some hospitals do not have accounting staff after-hours or on holidays and will ask patients to pay a deposit 10,000-30,000 yen in cash. This will be reimbursed during the regular hours.
ATMs are usually available inside major hospitals but you may not be able to use a credit card.