Facts about Japanese Hospital
Japanese hospitals offer various types of medical treatment, and both inpatient and outpatient procedures. Japanese people choose to use a hospital instead of a clinic when they have been referred to it by a clinic, if the hospital is conveniently located, or when they simply want to receive care from a well-equipped facility. Some people even visit the hospital to receive treatment for the common cold!
Hospitals do not usually require an appointment for the first consultation. These patients need to make their visit between 9 am and 11 am.
Afternoon appointments are generally only available to returning patients. Appointments are often made by calling a hospital’s appointment line, but the phone operators may only be available for a short time, such as from 1 pm to 3 pm.
Hospitals are closed for non-emergency patients on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Emergency patients are only accepted at locally designated emergency hospitals.
In case of emergency, be very careful to check whether or not a hospital will be able to accept you before attempting to make a visit. Please see our Emergency Clinics and hospitals page for details.
In Japan, almost all hospitals are accessible to patients without a doctor’s referral. However, hospitals are allowed to charge an extra fee to patients without a referral. These fees range from 2,000 to 5,000 yen.
Most hospitals accept Japanese Health Insurance and charge 30% of the total fees to the patient. However, costs some private hospitals charge higher rates than public hospitals.
Hospitals that accept credit cards are quite limited. It is best to prepare cash.
What to do before doctor’s consultation at a big hospital
In large hospitals you will usually be assigned a number card for seeing a doctor, paying your bill, and receiving your medication. Your number will be shown on the electronic display board. However, there are some exceptions, so ask the receptionist or guide if you are not sure what to do.
Submit your health insurance card to the receptionist if it is your first visit to the hospital and tell the receptionist, “Shoushin desu. (First consultation)” If you have visited the hospital before, submit your hospital card. If you have private insurance, tell the receptionist this as well.
If you are a new patient, fill out the interview sheet. If you don’t read Japanese at all, consult the receptionist, and they may not require you to fill it out. Instead, a doctor will ask you the questions on the sheet.
Go to the treatment department and submit your registration card.
Go to the waiting room and wait until your name is called or your number is shown on the electronic display board.
Enter the consultation room and meet with your doctor.
Schedule your next appointment with the doctor if necessary, and receive your personal information file.
★Interview sheet (問診票 もんしんひょう monshinhyou): This sheet asks you to fill out detail your medical history as well as current symptoms and medications..
★Number machines automatically put patients in the order they will be called based on their appointment information. You can receive your number card from this machine. If you have trouble with it, ask the volunteer guide or hospital staff.
After the consultation
Go to the payment department and submit your billing information file. Receive your number card for payment.
When your turn comes, pay the bill at the payment counter. Receive your prescription.
If you wish to receive medicine at the hospital, go to the pharmacy in the hospital. Or you can choose to have the prescription filled at a pharmacy outside of the hospital.