Going to the Hospital in Japan – The Ultimate Guide

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In this guide, we will cover all the information you will need to know about going to the hospital in Japan, as well as key vocabulary words and expressions that are commonly used in such situations.

Before heading to the hospital

Japanese hospital workers are usually very nice. Even if you are not comfortable speaking in Japanese, receptionists and nurses will try to help you in whatever way they can… So do not be scared!

First, search for hospitals in your nearby area. In Japan, there are 総合病院 (big hospitals with many different departments) as well as small hospitals specializing in certain fields such as internal medicine and pediatrics.

  • 病院 – hospital
  • 内科 – internal medicine
  • 外科 – surgical hospital
  • 整形外科 – orthopedics hospital
  • 小児科 – pediatrics hospital
  • 耳鼻科 – otorhinolaryngologist (ear, nose, throat hospital):
  • 皮膚科 – dermatologist
  • 産婦人科 – OBGYN
  • 眼医者 – eye doctor
  • 歯医者 – dentist

You need to make sure you bring your 保険証 (health insurance card), as well as cash. Japanese hospitals do not regularly accept credit cards for payment, especially if they are small.

Most of the time, you do not need to make an appointment in advance to see the doctor as most Japanese hospitals have a walk-in system.

Arriving at the hospital

Find the 受付 (reception) and tell the receptionist that you would like to see the doctor.

  • 診察をお願いします。 – “I would like to see the doctor.”

The receptionist will ask you if you have an appointment and if this is your first time at the hospital.

  • 予約はありますか? – “Do you have an appointment?”
  • いいえ、ないです。 – “No, I do not.”
  • 初診ですか?/初めてですか? – “Is this your first time here?”
  • はい。初診です。/初めてです。 – “Yes, this is my first time.”

If it is your first time at the hospital, they will then ask you to fill out a questionnaire. It will most likely ask you about the following:

  • 名前・生年月日・性別・年齢 – name, birth date, gender, age
  • 現在治療中の疾患 – illnesses you are currently being treated for
  • 現在服用中の薬 – medications you are currently taking
  • 妊娠している・していない – pregnant or not pregnant
  • 既往症 – past illnesses
  • アレルギー – allergies

Seeing the doctor

After filling out and returning the questionnaire, you will eventually be called into the 診察室 (examination room).

To describe your symptoms and conditions to your doctor or nurse, use the following expressions:

  • がある – “I have a fever”
  • …度の熱がある – “I have a fever of … degrees (in Celsius)()
  • 気分()悪い – “I feel sick I feel sick – ()
  • 吐き気()がする – “I feel nauseous”
  • 下痢()です – “I have diarrhea”
  • 便秘()です – “I have constipation”
  • 寒気がする – “I have been getting chills”
  • インフルエンザです – “I have the flu”
  • ()痛い()・頭痛がする – “I have a headache”
  • お腹痛い()・腹痛がする – “I have a stomachache”
  • のどが痛い – “My throat hurts”痛いtい My throat hurts: )
  • ()痛い – “My ear hurts” ()
  • ()痛い – “I have a toothache”
  • 虫歯がある – “I have a cavity”
  • ここが痛い – “It hurts here”

Getting treatment

The doctor will diagnose you and prescribe medication if needed.

  • 薬 – medicine
  • 風邪薬 – cold medicine
  • 座薬 – suppository
  • 痛み止め – pain killer
  • しっぷ – compress
  • 注射 – shot
  • ワクチン – vaccine
  • 目薬 – eye drops

Additional vocabulary to know

  • 医者 – doctor
  • 看護師 – nurse
  • 体重 – weight
  • 身長 – height
  • 血圧 – blood pressure
  • 血液型 – blood type
  • 体温 – body temperature
  • 入院 – hospitalization
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