To know where you should go check our article about the difference between hospitals and clinics in Japan first.
It depends on the actual clinic you visit, but typically you don’t need a reservation for your first time visit. You can call in advance if you wish, but you will not be turned down in case you just show up at the clinic.
Once inside, stop at the front reception (uketsuke, 受付) and give them your health insurance card.
If it’s your first visit, tell them:
You will then be given a medical questionnaire form which you will have to fill in. It’s called monshinhyou (問診票) and contains general information about yourself:
If you need language support, simply let the staff members know that you need help.
Once you have filled the questionnaire, return it to the reception desk staff and wait for your name to be called. At some point you will be called to enter the doctor’s examination room, where you will once again be asked to answer questions about your condition.
|It hurts (When something hurts, point to your body part and say this)||ここが痛いです||Koko ga itai desu|
|_ hurts||_ 痛い||_ itai|
|I have a headache||頭痛です||Zutsu desu|
|I have a bad cough||ひどい咳がでます||Hidoi seki ga demasu|
|I have a fever||熱があります||Netsu ga arimasu|
|I have diarrhea||下痢です||Geri desu|
|I have constipation||便秘です||Benpi desu|
|I feel nauseous||吐き気がします||Hakike ga shimasu|
|I’m dizzy||めまいがします||Memai ga shimasu|
|I can’t sleep||よく眠れません||Yoku nemuremasen|
|I have something here||ここにできものがあります||Koko ni dekimono ga arimasu|
|It’s itchy||かゆいです||Kayui desu|
|I have rash||蕁麻疹です||Jinmashin desu|
Once the doctor has established what the problem is, he/she will explain it to you and tell you what the next step is. When you’re done, once again go back to the waiting area at the reception desk and wait until you are called to pay.
If you are given a prescription, you will be guided to a nearby pharmacy (usually attached to the clinic or nearby).
Once there, you will once again be asked to fill in a medical questionnaire listing any allergies you have. Pass it on to the pharmacist in charge together with your health insurance and wait until your turn comes. Once you’ve received your medicines, pay and you’re ready to go home.
If you’re in a hospital you’re either there because of an emergency or a more serious condition, or you’ve been referred to by a clinic you have visiter earlier.
Hospitals typically operate per reservation only usually for the initial visit and always from your second visit on. If you have a referral letter (shokaijo, 紹介状) from a clinic, show this to the person in charge at the reception desk along with your health insurance. You will then be guided to the department you should be checked at. Once there, wait at the waiting area until you are called.
Once inside, your doctor will guide you through the examinations, typically asking more detailed questions. Be prepared to wait longer if you are visiting a larger hospital. From your next visit, you will also be given a medical card for the hospital, usually with your next appointment written on the back of it. It is called shinsatsuken (診察券 ). Carry this with you every time you visit the hospital.