Health and Medical Care

Medical Services

Hospitals and Clinics

* Hospitals and clinic are usually open weekday mornings. They are closed on Sunday and National Holidays.
* In case of emergency health problems, call an ambulance(Tel:119).
* When a doctor prescribes medicine for you, make sure they give an adequate explanation of the medicine and potential side-effects.

Points to observe at hospitals and clinics

  • (1) If you have problem communicating in Japanese, you may use an interpreter service or come with someone who can interpret for you.
  • (2) If you do not understand, ask questions immediately.
  • (3) Ask your doctor to explain your test results and any prescribed drugs in Japanese that is easy to understand.
  • (4) Be on time for your appointment.
  • (5) Mobile phones and other electronic devices are prohibited in hospitals and clinics.
  • (6) If you have trouble with inpatient cost or have questions about the health system, please consult with your hospital or if the hospital has a social worker, then please consult with them.
  • (7) In Japan, there are many support programs for those in need, however, in order to receive these services and benefits you must apply for them. Therefore, it is very important to get information about such programs.
    If you don’t know any of such programs, ask a social worker. Consultation is free and privacy is protected, feel free to consult a social worker or use another consultation services.

List of departments of a hospital

Internal Medicine (Naika)treatment of illness or disease affecting the internal organs
Psychiatry (Seishinka)treatment of mental health and mental illness
Neurology (Shinkei-Naika)specializes in treatment of the nervous system and related illnesses and diseases
Pediatrics (Shonika)treatment of infants and children
Surgical Department (Geka)treatment of disease and injuries by means of manual or operative procedures
Orthopedics (Seikei-geka)treatment of disorders or injuries of the bones, joints, and associated muscles
Plastic Surgery (Keisei-geka)repair, replacement, or reshaping of malformed, injured, or lost parts of the body
Neurosurgery (No-shinkei-geka)surgery of the brain or other nerve tissue
Dermatology (Hifuka)diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair, and nails
Urology (Hinyokika)for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the urinary tract (kidney, bladder) and urogenital system
Gynecology & Obstetrics (Sanfujinka)for the treatment of the diseases of women’s reproductive organs, pregnancy and childbirth
Ophthalmology (Ganka)for the treatment of the injuries and diseases of eyes
Otolaryngology (Jibi-inkoka)for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the ear, nose, and throat
Physical Therapy (Rihabiriteishon)for the treatment of physical disabilities by massage, electrotherapy, physiotherapy or exercises
Radiology (Hoshasenka)diagnostic testing using substances such as x-rays to diagnose injury or disease.
Anesthesiology (Masuika)for local or general loss of sensation, especially of pain, before surgical operations
Dentistry (Shika)for treatment of teeth and gums

Medical Insurance Systems

Medical Expenses

Without having a medical insurance, you must pay the entirety of all your medical expenses, which can sometimes be very high. Some financial aid programs are available for elderly, infants, single parents and those suffering from incurable diseases.


Japanese Public Health Insurance Systems

Under Japanese universal public health insurance policy, all Japanese residents must be enrolled in a public health insurance system. There are two systems, one which is provided by places of employment, another one is available at the local governments. Private medical insurance cannot replace the public health insurance system.     
Once you enroll in public health insurance, you must pay the premiums. When you use medical services after becoming sick or injured, you will only have to pay 30% of the whole medical cost. In addition, you will be given payments towards the cost of child delivery and for medical bills exceeding a fixed amount.



Insurance Premium Reduction Program

◆ Subsidy Program for National Health Insurance for Foreign Students (Ryugakusei Kokumin Kenko Hoken Hojo)
kokoka Kyoto City International Community House provides a National Health Insurance subsidy (Ryugakusei Kokumin Kenko Hoken Hojo) to privately funded foreign students who live in Kyoto and are enrolled at a university or a junior college in Kyoto.
The maximum amount of subsidy for students on a student visa is 700 yen a month (provided the student pays the premium).
※ Applications for this program are accepted at the Kyoto International Community House (kokoka).
Kyoto International Students Information site


◆ Reduction and Exemption Program for National Health Insurance Premiums     
If you have difficulties paying the National Health Insurance premium because you were the victim of a disaster, are unemployed, faced bankruptcy or other hardships, your insurance premium may be reduced or exempted upon application.     
★ Inquire at Health Insurance and Pension Section of your Ward Office or Ward Branch Office. See here.


Other Programs


◆ Free or Low Cost Medical Service Program
This program is made for those who have difficulty in paying medical costs because of low income or other financial reasons. If eligible you can receive medical care free or at a reduced cost. In order to apply to this program, you must visit a medical institution connected with program for an examination and submit documents certifying your household income.
Inquire at Health Insurance and Pension Section of your Ward Office or Ward Branch Office  Tel:075-251-1175

Health Examinations and Vaccinations

Health checkup

It is recommended undergo regular medical checkups to prevent serious illnesses. Some examinations are free.

Specific health examination40 to 74 years old
Kyoto City health checkup40 years old and above for those who receive public benefits
Health examination for those who are covered by the latter-stage elderly healthcare systemTarget for insured persons in medical care for the elderly
Adult health exam18 to 70 years old
Adult health examfor Kyoto City residents aged 18 to 39 who do not receive a health examination at work or school
Tuberculosis test15 years old or older
Lung cancer test40 years old or older
Stomach cancer test50 years old or older
Colorectal cancer test40 years old or older
Breast cancer testwomen 30 years old or older
Uterine/cervical cancer testwomen 20 years old or older
Prostate cancer testmen 50 years old or older
Stomach Cancer Risk Stratification Evaluationages 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65
Dental consultation for adults and pregnant womenadults 18 to 64 years old and pregnant women
HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Test-
administered daytime on weekdays
for those concerned they were exposed to HIV and/or sexually transmitted diseases
HIV Quick Test & Sexually Transmitted Diseases Test
for those concerned they were exposed to HIV and/or sexually transmitted diseases
HIV Quick Test & Sexually Transmitted Diseases
for those concerned they were exposed to HIV and/or sexually transmitted diseases
Hepatitis Virus Test (B, C)for those concerned they were exposed to hepatitis

★ Visit thePublic Health & Welfare Center or Medical Sanitation corner at your ward office or ward branch office. See⇒here.
※ Ask the health insurance office that you are registered for regarding specific health examinations.


◆ Regular Vaccination Schedule (vaccinations designated by the Vaccination Act)
Vaccination produces immunity (meneki) which allows you protection from developing an infectious disease after exposure.
You have a responsibility to vaccinate your children if possible to protect their health. Vaccinations can be given throughout the year.

Illness Vaccination frequency Target age group
[Average inoculation period]
Location where vaccine is available
BCG (tuberculosis vaccine) Once Within 1st year
[from 5 months to 8 months of age]
Public Health & Welfare Centers at ward offices and branch ward offices,
Keihoku Sub-branch Office, or Kyoto City BCG Vaccination Cooperative Medical Facilities
Hib Infections (H. influenza Type B) * [2 months- 7 months]: 3 times, 1 additional
* [7 months -12 months]: 2 times, 1 additional
* [12 months-60 months]: 1 time
From 2 months of age to 60 months (5 years old)
[2 months- 7 months]
Kyoto City Vaccination Cooperative Medical Facilities
Pneumococcal (Infants & Children) * [2 months- 7 months]: 3 times, 1 additional
* [7 months -12 months]: 2 times, 1 additional
* [12 months-24 months]: 2 times
* [24months-60 months]: 1 time
From 2 months of age to 60 months (5 years old)
[2 months - 7months]
Hepatitis B 3 times Within 1st year
[2 months -9 months]
Combined Vaccine (4 in 1)
For the 4-in-1
1st period: 3 times
1st additional: 1 time
From 3 months to 90 months (7 years 6 months)
[3 months- 12 months]
Diphtheria (DT) 2nd period: 1 time From 11 years to 13 years old
[11 years old]
Measles / Rubella (MR) 1st period: 1 time From 12 months to 24 months
2nd period: 1 time 1 year prior to entering elementary school
Varicella (Chicken Pox) Twice From 12 months to 36months
[12 months -15 months]
Japanese Encephalitis
1st period: 2 times
1st additional: 1 time
From 6 months to 90 months (7 years 6 months)
[3 years of age, with additional injection at 4 years of age]
2nd period: 1 time 9 years to 13 years old
[9 years old]
HPV Uterine & Cervical Cancer 3 times
(not recommended at this time)
Girls from Elementary School Year 6 to High School Year 1
[Middle School Year 1]

※1 4-in-1 Combination Vaccine includes Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, and Polio

※2 For Japanese Encephalitis, exceptions to this schedule are listed below:
① For children under 20 born from April 4, 1997 to April 1, 2007 are still able to receive injections necessary are that additional to the current period 1 and 2 schedule.
② For children under 20 born from April 2, 2007 to October 2009 can still receive injections necessary that are additional to period 1 (however this is limited from age 9 to 13)