Health Care in Japan

by Kevin R Burns
(Kanagawa, Japan)

Health Care in Japan - Going to a doctor or a hospital, where few if any of the staff speak English, can be scary to say the least. Add to that, the fact that you are sick and have less energy to deal with this situation, and it becomes a mountain of a challenge to climb.

I still remember the days I spent alone in a cold Japanese apartment with a fever and no phone. Back then you had to buy a really expensive telephone line and I couldn`t afford one. Indeed it challenges you when you are really sick and alone.

Fortunately today, in virtually all cities of Japan you have access to very good medical facilities, and in the larger cities, many of the staff speak at least a little English. And this latter fact improves year by year.

The standard of health care in Japan is one of the best in the world. For example, things like the MRI machine was invented in Japan. Japan is a leader in disease research and prides herself on high standards in health care.

Health Care in Japan & English Speaking Doctors

Check with your employer, or your local city hall or international center. Should they not be able to help you find one, you can pay for a service to find one for you. JHI, or Japan Healthcare Info will do just that
for a fee.

What kind of health insurance do you need here?

Most expat English teachers living in Japan opt for Komin Kenko Hoken. This is health insurance organized through your district or ward--the area you live in, in Japan. Our sister site, How to teach English in Japan, advises that this insurance is a cheaper option.

Tokyo Medical and Surgical Clinic

I will never again go to the dental clinic at the Tokyo Medical and Surgical Clinic however. I had two very negative experiences there. Probably the dentist and his assistant are different now though. My bad experience was years ago.

I do however, recommend the doctor side of the clinic, though I have to qualify that. It depends on which doctor you get. Some of the Japanese doctors are good and some are so-so in my opinion. Their bedside manner leaves something to be desired. Some of the foreign doctors are reportedly good in all aspects.

I have heard that the dentist and dental staff changed a while back and that they are very good now. So for dentistry the clinic may well be good now.

I had two bad experiences at the dental clinic there, so will never go again. Why two bad experiences? Maybe I am a glutton for punishment? However, we have it from reliable sources that all services there are very good. (Apart from some of the bedside manner of a few of the Japanese doctors.)

Call for an appointment:


Have Back Problems?

Helios Accupuncture Clinic in Tokyo

One practitioner I recommend wholeheartedly is Dr. Greg Sappers O.M.D. Dr. Sappers has seen me stagger in to his Roppongi Clinic a few times, and then watched me as I walk out! No joke! He does chiropractic adjustment, massage and accupuncture. I recommend it all. However he is not cheap. If you have foreign insurance he accepts that. If you don`t bring lots of cash!

He is worth it though if you are barely walking. He will head you on the road back to good posture/health! By appointment only. Closed Sunday and Holidays

Dr. Sappers Tel. 3403-3272

Fax: 3405-5080

Open 10AM-20:00PM

Address: Calm-Nogizaka 1003,

6-27 Akasaka 9-chome

Minato-ku, Tokyo

(Near Roppongi Station Exit 4a, or Nogizaka Station Exit 3 Chiyoda Line, or Oedo Line)

Tell - Tokyo English Life Line, offers a list of English speaking doctors, clinics and hospitals in

English Speaking & Canadian Trained Dermatologist in Tokyo

Dr. Reiko Akasu, M.D.

Address: CBON View Building 4th Fl
Roppongi 7-18-12
Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032
Tel. 03-5771-2081 Dermatology

Consultation: By appointment only
Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Japanese national holidays.

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