Where can I buy prescription medications?
You can buy your prescription medication (処方せん shohousen) at a pharmacy in town. Prescription pharmacies are called 調剤薬局 chouzaiyakkyoku. Japanese Health Insurance covers prescription medication, so you only have to pay 30% of the total fees. Make sure to fill your prescription within 4 days after it is issued. You will need to see a doctor again to have it reissued after the due.
Pharmacists will tell you how to take the medication prescribed for you. They will give you a small booklet that keeps your prescription records (お薬手帳 Okusuri Techou). Pharmacists put your medication record stickers in the booklet. It is handy to let your doctor and pharmacist know what medications have been prescribed for you in the past. Take it with you every time to fill your prescription.
Besides pharmacies, there are drugstores in Japan. They sell over-the-counter medication and various healthcare goods. Pharmacists are working at drugstores as well. You can consult a pharmacist to buy appropriate medication for your symptoms. Please keep in mind that the medications at a drugstore are not covered by Japanese health insurance.
Difference Between Pharmacy and Drugstore
In contrast with pharmacies, drugstores have a variety of merchandise on sale in the store. Pharmacies are usually open from 9am to 6pm, but drugstores are open much later like 8pm. Some drugstores have prescription medicines as well but often the operation time is limited like until 6pm.