What to expect at a Japanese Hospital
Japanese hospitals offer various types of medical treatments, and both inpatient and outpatient services. Japanese people use a hospital when they have been referred to it by a clinic, or if the hospital is conveniently located, or when they simply want to receive care from a well-equipped facility.
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, private hospitals tend to set a higher charge for patients who have no Japanese Health Insurance.
Some hospitals require an appointment in advance. Some don’t. In general patients need to make their first visit between 9 am and 11 am on a weekday.
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 4 pm.
Hospitals are closed for non-emergency patients on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. 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.
Hospitals that accept credit cards are quite limited. It is best to prepare cash.
Hospitals in Japan vary in service policies and hours. It is best to gather information before you use. We are happy to help you choose the one that matches your request and coordinate your visit. Contact us.
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 a private insurance, tell the receptionist this as well however in most cases you have to pay 100% upfront and reimburse yourself later.
If you are a new patient, fill out the registration and interview sheet. Some hospitals have English forms but this is not that common.
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. Usually the section to submit your file and the section to make payment is different.
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. Sometimes hospitals ask you to do either way.
I felt sick so I went to a big hospital near my house, but they rejected me
Japanese medical services aren’t available 24h/365 days a year. The opening hours vary. There is no GP system in Japan so a specialist for your condition is necessary. If you go to a major hospital without referral there is a chance you can be turned away from the hospital and will need to seek treatment somewhere elseContact us before you make your visit. We will find an appropriate service and make the necessary arrangements for you.