Random – Hospitals in Japan

So there is some point in your life, where you do need advice from a real doctor. I remember my days back in Argentina, where I enjoyed FREE medical service (even to foreigners – though I was living there and only had a ‘tourist‘ visa)

Of course Japan is not Argentina and unlike Germany where doctors do have their own place and you go to a so called ‘hospital‘ only short before saying your last good bye to this world or want your leg being back attached to your body after a wild ride — anyway, in Japan – or let’s say in Asia, there is this expression (which still feels ‘wrong‘ as I was raised in germany)

⇒”oh you catched a cold? You should go to the hospital”

I do suffer from Hypothyroidsm and need to take hormones, but also need a blood check every 3 months to get the dosis right. Unfortunately this simple blood check which might be in germany some 30 bucks; cost the full 100% – in my case I had to pay more than 200 dollar.

Beside the money you should bring with you (as you have to pay right before you leave, in cash) there are certain things that might differ to (especially german) hospitals.

  1. On admission they check your temperature, get your data and there is a cute machine (sarcasm alarm) where you put your arm into, press a button and get back your arm as well as your blood pressure data
  2. After that you will be handed over a nice card, which is your ID for that hospital (see point 4.) – japanese do love cards. They are everywhere *definitely need a bigger wallet*
  3. You’ll get a number and wait for your turn, talk to the doc, maybe get some meds and before leaving you will be directed to the cash counter
  4. There hand over your card, take #, wait for your turn and ⇔ surprise: you pay in cash, but at a machine in the back. Looks like a huge ATM, which will be activated for you – of course it speaks ´perfect japanese and wants you to feed it with some thousand yen bills. All you get is a thin paper as receipt and free to go you are.

Blood Test Results might differ to those from your country. In my case it took me 2h research to understand what is what (and being a doc means you are the master of kanji himself *respect*)  You will end up with 2 receipts actually. One explaining for what they actually charged which amount. And the ‘paid’ proof, that comes with additional ‘next appointment’ and ‘prescription’ (in case you should get meds)

If you are on a working holiday visa you should keep an eye on those receipts to get your money back asap.

P.s. Even you speak perfect daily japanese I recommend to bring a japanese friend – you will save hours of being lost and the doc might feel more comfortable talking (which is important in such a situation)





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