Going to the doctor - the basic process
Going to the doctor in Japan can be very different from how it is in your country. This page will tell you the basic process for getting seen and diagnosed to prevent confusion.
What to bring
- Residence card
- Health insurance card
- Information on any medications you are currently taking
- Information on any allergies or illnesses you may have
Search for a doctor: When you feel sick, try to figure out what kind of doctor you will need to see to get treated. Then you can search for a doctor who speaks your language located in a close-by location. Contact the International Association if you need medical interpreting.
Reception: Go to the reception desk and introduce yourself. There may be a sign that says Reception （受付, uketsuke）. If it is your first visit, tell the receptionist your symptoms. You’ll hand them your health insurance card. If you have trouble with Japanese, you can bring this medical questionnaire with you to describe your symptoms.
Waiting room: Wait to be called. During this time you may have to fill out a medical form or get your temperature taken.
Consultation: The doctor will ask you various questions. What are your symptoms? How long have you had them? Do you have any idea what caused them? You may have to undergo some simple tests – blood pressure measurements, blood tests, x-rays, urine tests, etc.
Treatment: If the diagnosis needs to wait for the results of tests you will be asked to come back at a later date. If not, the doctor may prescribe you some medicine or give you an injection to treat your symptoms.
Payment: Go back to reception and wait for your name to be called. You will pay for treatment and your health insurance card will be returned. Most offices will only take cash. If this is your first visit, you’ll be issued a small consultation card with the facility’s details. You can use this next time you come for a visit so they can find your records. If necessary you will be given a prescription for medicine to fill at a pharmacy （usually there is one close by）. Some clinics/hospitals dispense their own medicine.
Medication: Get your prescribed medicine at an internal dispensary or a nearby pharmacy （薬局, yakkyoku）. You’ll need to present the prescription as well as your insurance card.
Office of International Affairs, Department of Homeland Promotion
(020-8570) 10-1 Uchimaru, Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture, JAPAN
Phone number:019-629-5765 Facsimile:019-629-5254
You can access our question form here.