A holiday aboard is one of the most exciting things to do. But as a human being, it is possible that you will feel unwell during your trip. Although it will cause frustration that you can’t follow the itinerary and visit the places you are longing for, seeking medical advice from a professional is necessary to ensure you get home safely.
But seeing a doctor in a foreign country can be challenging, especially if you don’t speak the language. So we have come up with this article introducing a couple of commonly used phrases and a list of symptoms and disease names that hopefully can make it easier when you see a doctor in Japan.
Table of Contents
- Where to Purchase COVID-19 Self-Test Kit in Japan
- What to Do If You Tested Positive for COVID-19 in Japan
- How to Purchase Medicine in Japan
- How to See a Doctor in Japan
- Bringing a List of Emergency Contact While Traveling
Where to Purchase COVID-19 Self-Test Kit in Japan
When you have COVID-19 symptoms, the first step is to perform a self-test. But where can you purchase a self-test kit in Japan?
The good news is COVID-19 self-test kit is available in most major pharmacies in Japan. When you get to a pharmacy, ask the staff where the kit is placed. If they don’t speak English, you can use the below phrase or simply show it to them.
Sumimasen, Korona no Kensa Kitto Wa Doko ni Arimasu Ka?
Excuse me, where can I find the COVID-19 self-test kit?
What to Do If You Tested Positive for COVID-19 in Japan
If your test result is positive and you have severe symptoms that you need to see a doctor in Japan, the best thing to do is call 050-3816-2787. This is the 24-hour Japan Visitor Hotline operated by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO).
The hotline provides counselling services on matters related to COVID-19 to overseas visitors. They can advise you on the best clinic or hospital to visit for your situation and help you make an appointment. The operator can speak English, so call them if you have any concerns.
How to Purchase Medicine in Japan
When you experience initial cold symptoms in Japan, purchasing some medicines from the local pharmacies is best. This is so you have something to help relieve the cold and flu symptoms if it gets more serious later.
While there should always be someone who can speak English, if that is not the case, refer to the below vocabulary for the common types of medicines available at chemists.
|解熱鎮痛薬||genetsu chintsū yaku||Medicine for fever and body aches|
|総合風邪薬||sōgō kaze gusuri||Medicine for common cold symptoms|
|胃腸薬||ichō yaku||Gastrointestinal medicine|
How to See a Doctor in Japan
Can foreign tourists without Japanese Medicare see a doctor in Japan? The answer is yes. Although it is costly to seek medical treatment in Japan, if you have purchased relevant insurance for your trip, you can ask the hospital to issue a medical certificate, and apply for health insurance benefits after returning home, which can reduce some financial burden.
Google Maps is the easiest way to search for a hospital or clinic nearby. If there aren’t many results coming out when you search in English, try using Japanese: “病院” for hospital or “診療所” for clinic.
You can also refer to JNTO’s Medical Information Page. This website provides guides for foreign tourists to see a doctor in Japan, including a list of medical institutions in each prefecture.
Making a Doctor’s Appointment in Japan
Unlike many Western countries, seeing a GP as a walk-in patient usually doesn’t involve extensive waiting time. A medical consultation form will be given to you when you make an appointment at the reception. If it is a hospital that you visit, the forms usually come in different languages, making it easier for you to fill in.
During a Doctor’s Consultation in Japan
Like most countries, the first question the doctor will ask you is what has brought you here. While the case will be rare that the doctor can’t speak English, the below two Japanese sentences are the most common ones used.
今日はどうされましたか？ Kyō Wa Dō Saremashita Ka?
どんな症状でご来院されましたか？ donna shōjō de goraiin saremashita ka？
A List of Common Cold and Flu Symptoms
|具合が悪い||gu-ai ga warui||Feeling unwell|
|体がだるい||karada ga darui||Feel heavy body|
|新型ウイルス肺炎/コロナウイルス||shingata uirusu haien/koronauirusu||Coronavirus|
|寒気がする||samuke ga suru||Chills|
|高熱が出る||kōnetsu ga deru||Having a high fever|
|咳が出る||seki ga deru||Coughing|
|痰が絡む||tan ga karamu||With phlegm|
|喉が痒い||nodo ga kayui||Itchy throat|
|喉が痛い||nodo ga itai||Sore throat|
|飲み込むときに痛い||nomikomu toki ni itai||Painful when swallowing|
|頭痛/頭が痛い||zutsū/atama ga itai||Gastrointestinal medicine|
|めまいがする||memai ga suru||Feeling dizzy|
|頭が重い||atama ga omoi||Heavy-headedness|
|鼻水が出る||hanamizu ga deru||Running nose|
|息切れ||ikigire||Shortness of breath|
|吐き気がする||hakike ga suru||Feeling nauseous|
|嘔吐をする||ōto wo suru||Vomiting|
|気を失う||ki wo ushi-nau||Faint|
A List of Common Gastrointestinal Symptoms
|腹痛/お腹が痛い||fukutsū/onaka ga itai||Stomach ache|
|胃もたれ||seki ga deru||Heavy stomach|
|お腹が張る||tan ga karamu||Bloated stomach|
|下痢をする||geri wo suru||Have diarrhea|
|便秘をする||nodo ga kayui||Have constipation|
|食欲不振||shokuyoku fushin||No appetite|
A List of Common Illness and Diseases
After you list out your current symptoms, the GP will also ask about personal or family medical history to facilitate the diagnosis of the condition. You can refer to the name of common diseases below to communicate with the doctor.
|高血圧||kōketsuatsu||High blood pressure|
|アレルギー性鼻炎||arerugīsei bien||Allergic rhinitis|
|食中毒||shoku chūdoku||Food poisoning|
|逆流性食道炎||gyakuryūsei shokudō en||Reflux esophagitis|
A List of Common Diseases Among Toddlers
When parents bring their children to Japan, sometimes it is inevitable that they will be unwell. Especially for toddlers who can’t take medicines sold in pharmacies, seeking medical treatment from a local GP is the only option.
So in addition to the above common diseases, we have complied with the below diseases common to toddlers.
|手足口病||teashikuchi byō||Hand, foot and mouth disease|
|りんご病||ringō byō||Fifth disease|
|咽頭結膜熱、プール熱||intōketsumaku netsu、pūru netsu||Throat conjunctival fever|
|川崎病||kawasaki byō||Kawasaki disease|
|熱性けいれん||nessei keiren||Febrile seizures|
How to Get a Prescription in Japan
After the consultation, you will receive a prescription. If you are unsure where to get the prescribed medicine, the staff at the reception should be able to point you in the correct direction.
If you have any drug allergies, remember to let the GP know. Below is a list of common medicines that can cause allergic reactions.
|◯◯ にアレルギーがあります||◯◯ ni arerugī ga arimasu||I am allergic to ◯◯|
|解熱鎮痛剤||genetsu chintsū zai||Antipyretic analgesic|
Bringing a List of Emergency Contact While Traveling
Lastly, remember to consolidate a list of emergency contacts before leaving your country. Although the chances of using this list of contact is minimal, it will become handy if anything unexpected happens.
Find Out Some Useful Phrases that You Can Use in Restaurants in Japan
In addition to the phrases and vocabulary that you can use when seeing a doctor in Japan that we have introduced above, how about learning some useful terms and sentences that you might find handy when you visit restaurants in Japan?
To find out the phrases useful when you dine in Japan, refer to our Essential Japanese Travel Phrases for Vegetarians and Vegans article!