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Overview: Japanese Healthcare System

Japan provides universal healthcare, with the public social assistance program for the poor covering the remaining 1.7% of the population and the statutory health insurance system (SHIS) covering 98.3% of the population.

About 59% of the population is covered by the more than 1,400 employment-based insurance plans that make up the SHIS. Additionally, all unemployed individuals under the age of 74 can obtain residence-based insurance plans offered by each of Japan's 47 prefectures, and seniors 75 years of age and older can obtain government-sponsored insurance.

More than 8,300 hospitals with roughly 1.6 million beds were located in Japan in 2021. The bulk of hospitals are private non-profit organizations, with only 15% being managed by municipalities, prefectures, or the federal government.

One of the highest life expectancies in the world is found in Japan. The average life expectancy for women in Japan is 88 years old. It is 75 for men. Moreover, women have a 50% probability of living to 90 years old. The figure for men is just around 30%.

There are fewer doctors per person in Japan due to the high cost of medical education in the nation. Yet, because of the nation's emphasis on and improvement in technology and medical equipment, hospitals and clinics continue to be great.

Some foreigners might be shocked to find that ambulance rides are free.

Japanese medicine is more potent than that found in other countries. As a result, you might require a prescription for something as unexpected as ear drops.

Is Health Insurance Mandatory in Japan?

But, if you want to stay in Japan for longer than 90 days, you should sign up for the National Public Health Insurance as soon as possible to avoid being taxed retroactively. Even if you didn't end up needing any sort of medical attention, you'll still have to shell out that amount.

Be sure to notify the National Health Insurance of your new address if you move to a different Japanese municipality or prefecture. It's possible that you're paying more than you should be for your premiums because of where you reside.

How much does the public healthcare in Japan cover?

The majority of the expense associated with doctor visits and procedures for illness, injury, and dental care are covered by the Japanese National Health Insurance and the Employee Insurance. Included in this category are, but are not limited to:

• general medical check-ups

• preventative care

• prescription medication

• injury due to an accident

• hospital stays, including some meals

• blood transfusion

• acupuncture and/or other therapy prescribed by a doctor

• birth and pre-natal costs

The Japanese healthcare system is comprehensive. Whether you are paying for a doctor’s appointment, surgery at a hospital, or prescribed medication from a pharmacy, at least 70% of the costs should be covered. This percentage changes only depending on age.

• Infants: 80% of medical costs are covered

• School-aged children to 69 years old: 70% of medical costs are covered

• Adults 70–74 years of age: 90% of medical costs are covered

• Residents between the ages of 40 and 65 will pay an extra 2% for a nursing care fee.

How much does it cost for hospital fees in Japan?

Costs associated with receiving medical care in Japan can vary widely based on factors like the severity of an illness, how long it takes to treat, and the specialty of the attending physician (general or specialist). If you have health insurance, however, you can expect to pay between 5,000 and 10,000 JPY (45 and 90 USD) for a consultation at a clinic, and between 10,000 and 15,000 JPY (90 and 140 USD) at a hospital. Without insurance, you could be looking at an additional 20,000 - 50,000 JPY (180–460 USD). In my opinion, follow-up visits should be less expensive.

The expense of doctor visits and checkups is consistent across all of Japan's prefectures. In Japan, all medical facilities are obligated to charge the same rate for their services.

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Top 10 Best Hospitals In Japan

(By Newsweek and Mailmate)

The hospitals right below are of best quality in Japan. In particular, they are English-speaking medical facilities where foreigners can find the best services.

1. The University of Tokyo Hospital

Top 10 Best Hospitals In Japan For Citizens and Visitors

Address: 7 Chome-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo City, Tokyo

Phone: +81 3-3815-5411


The University of Tokyo Hospital is a multi-specialty teaching hospital in Bunkyo City, Tokyo, with 1,226 beds, including 1,178 general acute care beds and 48 psychiatric beds.

The general medical and surgical facility has up to 36 clinical divisions and departments that cover a wide range of specialties including cardiovascular, respiratory medicine, dermatology, and neuropsychiatry.

Every year, the University of Tokyo Hospital performs over 11,000 surgeries. It is well-known for GI, orthopaedic, spinal, and pediatric surgeries, as well as various types of organ transplantation.

READ MORE: Top 10 Best Hospitals In Missouri 2023 By Healthgrades and U.S News

Where can I find an English-speaking doctor in Tokyo?

If a hospital is accredited by the Japan Medical Service Accreditation for International Patients (JMIP) or the Japan International Hospitals (JIH), you can locate an English-speaking physician there. Hospitals can serve patients of different nationalities and provide multilingual consultations thanks to this accreditation.

Searching for "JMIP hospital near me" can help international residents of Japan (not simply those in Tokyo) figure out where to go for multilingual assistance.

Of course, some hospitals provide English translation services or have doctors on staff who can speak English if a JMIP or JIH hospital isn't nearby.

Note: Please consult the Tokyo EMS Handbook to determine if you or someone you know needs medical attention at a hospital or if you should call an ambulance for assistance.

2. St. Luke's International Hospital

Address: 9-1 Akashi-cho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

Phone: +81 3-3541-5151


More than a century after St. Luke's Hospital was founded in Tsukiji, a designated area for international residents, around the turn of the twentieth century, we continue to heed the mission statement formulated by its founder, Dr. Rudolf B. Teusler, in 1933 as the driving force behind our management operations.

Since 2012, this hospital has been accredited every three years by Joint Commission International (JCI), an international hospital evaluating organization, ensuring that we follow the same medical safety and quality improvement efforts as top-tier hospitals around the world. Furthermore, in 2019, this hospital was accredited as a Magnet Hospital, a global standard of nursing, confirming our attractiveness to nurses. Furthermore, this hospital was accredited in December 2020.

3. Kameda Medical Center

Top 10 Best Hospitals In Japan For Citizens and Visitors
Kameda Medical Center

Address: 929 Higashi-cho, Kamogawa City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan 296-8602

Phone: (81) 4-7092-2211


Our medical service facility, which includes Kameda General Hospital and Kameda Clinic, is known as Kameda Medical Center in English. Kameda Medical Center, located in the southern part of Chiba Prefecture, receives approximately 3,000 outpatient visits per day to one of our many specialized clinical departments.

4. Tokyo Saiseikai Central Hospital

Address: 1 Chome-4-17 Mita, Minato City, Tokyo

Phone: +81-(0)50-5358-2873


JMIP-certified Tokyo Saiseikai Central Hospital is a short walk from Akabanebashi Station. It provides comprehensive medical care to international patients and houses an Emergency and Critical Care Center.

There is an international office at the hospital that assists patients who do not speak Japanese. On-site medical interpreters are available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Chinese.

Tokyo Saiseikai Central Hospital encourages patients to make a reservation in advance or have a medical referral letter before visiting. Individuals who do not have one may have to wait much longer for a consultation.

5. International Health Care Clinic

Address: 105-0004 Tokyo, Minato City, Shinbashi

Phone: 03-3501-1330


Whether you have Japanese health insurance or not, this clinic offers multilingual treatment and medical services for non-life threatening illnesses and injuries. They also provide international medical transportation between countries and within Japanese hospitals.

A reservation is required for the International Health Care Clinic. You can request an appointment through their website form or email them at [email protected] to schedule your consultation.

6. Tokyo Takanawa Hospital

Address: 3-chōme-10-11 Takanawa, Minato City, Tokyo

Phone: 03-3443-9191


Takanawadai Station is a 3-minute walk from Tokyo Takanawa Hospital. It is JIH and JMIP certified and offers services in both English and Chinese.

Although you don't need an appointment for a first-time consultation, the hospital recommends calling in advance to ensure there are openings in the schedule.

7. Sanno Hospital

Address: 8-chōme-10-16 Akasaka, Minato City, Tokyo


Phone: 03-3402-3151

Sanno Hospital has English-speaking doctors and Japanese-English interpreters on staff. It's less than a 5-minute walk from Aoyama-itchome Station and Nogizaka Station. The hospital has a wide array of patient-oriented medical services, including dentistry, ophthalmology, and a respected Obstetrics & Gynecology department.

Outpatient walk-ins are accepted for specific departments. You can check which departments accept walk-ins on their Outpatient page. Reception hours are from 8:30 - 11:30 AM and 1:00 - 4:30 PM on Mondays to Saturdays.

8. Tokyo Midtown Clinic

Address: 07-6206 Tokyo, Minato City, Akasaka, 9-chōme−7−1 6F Midtown Tower

Phone: 03-5413-0080


Tokyo Midtown Clinic has a specialized outpatient center as well as a cutting-edge health screening facility. Furthermore, the clinic is one of Japan's first hospitals to be accredited by the Joint Commission International (Ambulatory Care Program), an internationally recognized health care organization.

Outpatient services are only available by appointment. Reservations can be made up to a month in advance via their internet reservation system or by phone.

9. Japanese Red Cross Medical Centre

Address: 4 Chome-1-22 Hiroo, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-8935

Phone: +81 3-3400-1311

The Japanese Red Cross Medical Center (JRC Medical Center) is a general hospital in Tokyo's Shibuya-ku neighborhood of Hiroo. It is the main hospital of the Japanese Red Cross Society and is under its direct control. The current location of the medical center in Hiroo, Tokyo, was once the site of Horita Binakamori's mansion.

The predecessor, the Japanese Red Cross Hospital, was built on the current site in 1891. A 500-year-old tree in front of the bus stop is the largest ginkgo in the area, with a circumference of 4.7 meters or more, and was designated a natural monument in Shibuya-ku. Since 1949, the Empress has served as Honorary Governor.

10. Nagoya University Hospital

Top 10 Best Hospitals In Japan For Citizens and Visitors

Address: 466-8560 Aichi, Nagoya, Showa Ward, Tsurumaicho

Phone: +81 52-741-2111


Nagoya University Hospital, as a regional core hospital, not only provides advanced and safe medical care to all, but also trains highly qualified medical professionals. They promote highly advanced information in order to provide safe and open medical care to all.

They also provide extensive medical education to prepare medical professionals with high ethical values and public trust.


Trying to navigate the hospital system in Japan can be confusing for newcomers. We hope that the list above will help you find the best hospitals for citizens and visitors in Japan.

All of those hospitals have staff who can speak English well. Many top hospitals in Japan rank high in the global map so you can completely feel safe when being treated at Japanese renowned hospitals.

Feel free to share this article to spread the words!

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