Hospitals and Pharmacies

Understand what costs to expect if you are hospitalised or prescribed medication, and how to find your nearest 24 hour pharmacy in Japan...


There are municipal and prefectural hospitals, as well as private hospitals and clinics in Japan. Patients are free to choose their hospital and clinic for treatment, although for certain treatments it may be necessary to go to a particular hospital.

In Japan it is frequent for patients to go direct to a hospital even if their condition is not serious. In outpatient clinics within hospitals, patients wait their turn for treatment - appointments are rarely made first. On arrival, patients fill out an application and must present their insurance card. Rooms for examinations are rarely private, usually there is a cubicle in a larger ward, with a curtain around it.

  • UMIN have a list of university hospitals in Japan (University Hospital Medical Information Network)


Prescriptions can be filled either at a hospital or at a pharmacy, these are recognisable by the green and orange cross outside. In most big towns, pharmacies have an English-speaking member of staff.

Some drugs are sold at convenience stores which are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as well as at supermarkets.

It is also possible to contact the Tokyo Metropolitan Medical Institution Information Service to find a local chemist.