|Going to a Clinic or Hospital|
Some doctors speak English, but fewer receptionists and nurses do. Many hospitals and clinics require that patients who cannot speak Japanese go with someone who can, at least for the first visit. Contact ICO Room or your Research Promotion Division if you cannot find anyone to go with you.
Hospital and clinic opening times vary. Most public ones are open on weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm, but outpatients are only accepted in the morning. Many private clinics are closed on one or two weekdays and open at the weekend, and may stay open into the evening on some days. Reception desks close before the actual closing time, and for new patients they usually close earlier than for registered patients.
When you visit a hospital or clinic, take your health insurance card (hokensho), alien registration card or passport, and some cash. About 5,000 yen will be sufficient for most minor conditions, and subsequent visits for the same course of treatment are often cheaper. Many large hospitals have ATMs. You may also find it useful to take a list of drug allergies (if any), and a bilingual dictionary with medical terms. (See the Medical language resources section.)
Present the documents at the reception desk. If you are a first-time outpatient, you will need to register before you do anything else. You then usually have to fill in a form about your condition and any previous illnesses and allergies. The receptionist will then tell you where to go.
Choosing a clinic or hospital
You are free to go to any clinic, hospital or dentist. Your health insurance is valid almost anywhere, though you should check before going to a clinic that specializes in treating foreigners. Most clinics have specialities.
If you need help finding the right clinic for you, the following two organizations provide assistance to foreigners:
Tokyo metropolitan area
Three long-standing providers of medical treatment in English in the Tokyo metropolitan area are: