Country: Japan is an island nation in East Asia located in the Pacific Ocean. It lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea, and Russia. Tokyo is the capital and the primary languages spoken are Japanese and English. Its population is approximately 127 million.
To access emergency services: Dial 119
Currency: Japanese yen (JPY)
Recommended immunizations and vaccines for travelers: Before traveling to Japan, ask your doctor what vaccines are recommended. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are excellent resources as well.
Insurance: Find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures.
It is also worth ensuring your travel insurance will cover ambulances or transport either home or to more advanced medical facilities, if needed. Not all insurance covers emergency medical evacuation home or to a hospital in a major city, which may be the only way to receive medical attention in a serious emergency.
Source: International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers
What to expect in a Japanese hospital: Japanese hospitals offer various types of medical treatment and inpatient and outpatient procedures. Hospitals do not usually require an appointment for the first consultation.
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 careful to check if a hospital will be able to accept you before making a visit.
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. Hospitals that accept credit cards are quite limited. It is best to have cash.
In large hospitals you will usually be assigned a number card for seeing a doctor, paying your bill, and receiving your medication. There are some exceptions, so ask the receptionist about the procedure.
Contact your embassy/consulate: When in doubt, your country’s embassy is a good resource to turn to for medical assistance guidance.
JCI-accredited hospitals/clinics in Japan: To read about specific facilities that are JCI-accredited, visit the Hospital Search section.
Japan-specific helpful health resources:
Travel health notices: Visit the CDC or the WHO for up-to-date travel notices.