Guide to medical tourism in Japan – vital facts and developments

Once a country that was horrified by the after effects of a war has now become one of the leading tourist destinations in the world. Even though not commonly referred to as a key medical tourism destination, particularly because of the expensive cost of healthcare, Japan is slowly bringing in the patients looking for high quality and specialized procedures.

However, as more officials are beginning to realize the benefits of implementing a medical stream in the tourism sector, countries like Japan are starting to offer medical tourism benefits. The Japanese government is seeking to encourage medical tourism to selected hospitals. Their main target audience are wealthy foreign patients mainly Chinese and Russians that wouldn’t mind compromising on price for high quality. The medical infrastructure of Japan is highly developed and they are able to offer medical treatments and surgeries at competitive rates.


It should not have been difficult for Japan to attract medical tourists yet the number of patients it gets annually is comparatively low. The truth of the matter is that Japan did not concentrate on attracting the foreign patients until quite recently. They have now started to make strategies and implementing them for establishing their medical tourism industry.

Exploring the medical tourism potential

Japan has immense potential according to the experts of medical tourism industry. There are plenty of great places to visit for the tourists and their cuisine has become popular among the US citizens. The hospitals and private nursing homes are all well equipped and use advanced machines for diagnosing diseases.


Each of the hospitals has a big team of experienced doctors and specialists. Japan is famous all over the world due to its intense cancer research projects and number of cancer specialists and oncologists. They have also made great progress in the research of radiotherapy and regenerative medicine. To lure more foreign patients Japan should observe what its successful neighbors like Thailand, Malaysia and India are doing.

One easy and good way of attracting foreign patients is to hire more qualified and experienced doctors from that country and setting up a separate wing for the treatment of foreign patients. Dedicating special departments of doctors and a part of the hospital space for the foreign patients will help in delivering better medical facilities.


Another important thing to take into consideration is visa for the medical tourists. Medical tourists should get visas easily and these visas should last for at least six months so that they do not face any problem in the middle of the treatment. The government of Japan is also planning to launch an elaborate certification program for determining which hospitals are equipped at providing medical care to the foreign patients.

The Japanese tourism facilitators are designing excellent and attractive medical tourism packages for the foreign patients. Japan is trying hard to get its share of the growing medical tourism industry.


Language Aynu itak, Japanese, Ryukyuan
Time Zone JST(UTC+9)
Dialing Code +81
Electricity 100V, 50Hz
Medical Tourism Status Tokyo, Yokohama-shi, Ōsaka-shi
Currency Yen
Clothing Light jackets, light sweaters and other similar kinds of tops.
Health Related
Mortality Rate 9.83 deaths/ 1000 population
Life Expectancy 79.5M /85.8F
Patient: Physician Ratio 500:1
Hospitals JCI accredited 1
Recommended    Vaccinations Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Diphtheria-tetanus,

Measles, Varicella, Japanese encephalitis, Poliomyelitis, Yellow


Other Infections Leptospirosis, Hepatitis E, Lung fluke, Oriental liver fluke, Fish

tapeworm, Giant intestinal fluke, Japanese spotted fever


Tourism Related 
Population 126,659,683 Reliability of Police Services 22/140
Global Competitiveness 5.30/7 Physician Density 53/140
Tourism Competitiveness 5.1/7 Hospital Beds 1/140
GDP/Capita $36,266 Quality of Air Transport Infrastructure 46/140
Health and Hygiene 6.3/7 International  Air  Transport  Network 46/140
Safety and Security 5.7/7 Quality of Roads 7/140
Air Transport Infrastructure 4.5/7 Hotel Rooms 28/140
Tourism Infrastructure 4.6/7 Tourism Openness 137/140
Cultural Infrastructure 5.9/7 Attitude  of  Population  Towards Foreign Visitors 74/140
Visa Requirements 37/140


Japan is warm and welcoming, and traditional as well as modern, where tourists can experience conventional as well as contemporary lifestyle. This is what makes Japan and Japanese people one of the friendliest countries and friendly people in the world. The country has blossomed, seen some of the best technological developments and is certainly a pioneer for medical tourism. Japan is a joy that is open for all types of tourists and all kinds of travel. 


Located in East Asia, Japan is an island country that has over three thousands islands grouped together. It covers an area of 377,835 kilometers and is smaller than the state of California. Surrounded by Pacific in the north and Philippine Sea and East China Sea on the south, Japan is one of those places that attract beach lovers from various parts of the world. Its capital, Tokyo, is a perfect amalgamation of traditional styles and modern development. Main Island of Honshu is one of the major tourist attractions in the island nation.

People of Japan

The life expectancy rate in Japan is quite high, which is indicative of its quality health care systems. More than 17 percent of the total population in the country is recognized as old and the numbers are rising. The community here is quite friendly, calm and welcoming, with most of the people enjoying their lives with high earning capacities. Japan is known for its creative pursuits and its high regard of traditional art as well.


Almost all events and festivals celebrated in Japan reflect its rich cultural heritage. There are a number of local shrines dedicated to different deities, which people carry in palanquins during these festivities. The country has a range of events, including the most popular Sapporo Yuki Matsuri event, which has spectacular shows of ice and snow sculptures. Drawing two million visitors from all over the world, this is definitely the biggest winter festivals in the country. Apart from this Omizutori, a religious Buddhist ceremony takes place in the beginning of March every year.


The climate of Japan varies from one region to the other. Tourists can experience temperate to sub tropic climate in the country, along with four different seasons. Hokkaido and Sea of Japan are colder locations marked with heavy snowfall, while Okinawa remains relatively warm in the month of January.

Health care system

The health care system of Japan is dominated by the universal health care insurance system, which dictates that patient covers 30 percent of the costs while the government covers 70 percent of the cost of any medical procedures. Patients in Japan have the option to select their own physicians as well as facilities and no one can deny them coverage. Hospitals in this country work on nonprofit basis and the laws state that physicians must manage these hospitals and clinics. 

This plan has been running for over five decades and has offered accessible services through regional or national level public hospitals. Still, some regions in the country have shortage of medical resources as a number of patients force themselves into hospitals for minor diseases. In fact, the MRIs in the island nation have eight times more per capita income than in Britain.

Quality of Health Care

The quality of health care in Japan is quite high, which is reflected by its life expectancy rates. The country has higher number of practicing nurses that are specifically trained for different ailments. The only problem that the health care system in this country faces is that people come to hospital for minor problems, which affects certain cases of major ailments. However, the Japanese government is trying to implement universal health care systems to ensure that these services become more affordable and effective. 


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Dr Prem Jagyasi and Team (C)

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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