How do I choose a doctor / hospital?
In Japan, the patient decides which department to go to. For example, for a cold, go to internal medicine (内科 / naika), and for a broken bone, go to surgery (外科 / geka). If you are unsure of where to go, go to the front desk of the hospital for help. You can ask for a “Multilingual Medical Questionnaire” (1) that is available in 18 languages to help determine the appropriate department to visit.
For non-serious illnesses, we recommend going to a private doctor first. If necessary, they will write you an introduction letter to a general hospital, where you can get special treatment. You can also use the “Kochi Iryo Net” (2) (available in English and Japanese) to search for medical institutions in Kochi Prefecture. It includes information about hospitals open at night and weekends, as well as emergency care hospitals, so check it in your free time.
What should I bring?
Bring your insurance card, cash, and passport or other identification. Bring any medication you are taking and your medication journal if you have one.
I’m worried about getting lost in translation...
It is, of course, best to go with a medical interpreter, but we do not currently have a database of such interpreters at KIA. However, AMDA International Medical Information Center (3), an NPO, offers free phone interpreting. In this case, please consult your medical institution in advance. It may also be useful to fill out and bring the “Multilingual Medical Questionnaire” we mentioned earlier to the hospital.