In Japan, patients have free access to any healthcare providers, from small clinics to large hospitals with latest facilities. You can visit any local clinics and hospitals, but there are several things to keep in mind before you visit.
In many cases, you are recommended to have Japanese Health Insurance.
- Check the operating days and hours. In most clinics, only one doctor is working and they tend to operate irregularly. In May, August and January, many clinics have long seasonal holidays and can be closed for one week.
- Check if the clinic requires appointments. Most clinics have walk-in system, but often obgyn and dentists require appointments.
- There is officially no GP (general practitioner) in Japan. The closest one would be internal medicine physicians clinic but they normally don’t deal with surgery cases. In order to get treatment, you have to visit each specialist clinic.
- Bring your Japanese Health Insurance Card and cash. Many clinics do not accept credit cards.
For more details, visit Japanese Clinics
- Check the operating days and hours. Large hospitals are open for outpatient in the morning often only between 9:00-11:00.
- Most hospitals are walk-in for the first visit, but require appointments from the second visit. Some university hospitals require appointments from the first visit.
- Hospitals are divided by specialist departments.
- When you visit a large hospital, they can charge extra fee for patients without doctor’s referral.
- Bring your Japanese Health Insurance Card and cash. Not every hospital accept credit cards.
- Emergency care is not provided by every hospital. So if you visit a hospital without checking in an emergency, often they will ask you to visit somewhere else. Visit Emergency services section for details.
For more details visit Japanese hospitals
- Prescription pharmacies are usually open from 9:00am-18:00pm or later on weekdays and often on Saturdays. Sundays are closed mostly. To know the difference between prescription pharmacy and drugstores, see here.
- Prescription from overseas cannot be used in Japan. You need to have a prescription issued by Japan licensed doctor. For more details and how to refill your overseas prescription, visit here.
- Japanese Health Insurance covers 70% of total prescription drugs. You are required to pay 30% at the pharmacy counter.
- Normally patients are not required to purchase injectable drug such as vaccination at pharmacy. They are prepared at clinics/hospitals.