Health Care and Insurance

No special inoculations are needed to enter Japan. American prescriptions are not honored in Japan, so it is wise to have them filled at home. For safety’s sake, pack all prescription drugs in your carry-on luggage, and bring a doctor’s note describing your conditions and the medications you are taking — this will save time at customs. If you’re carrying syringes, be absolutely sure you have your prescription and a doctor’s note.

Because Japan has very strict laws regarding importing drugs, certain medications may not be allowed. These include codeine and certain cold medications (such as Sudafed). You may only bring a one-month’s supply of medications into the country.

Before traveling, always verify your health insurance coverage relative to your destination (health care in Japan is expensive). Also, verify that possessions such as cameras are covered by home or other insurance. Travel insurance is something to consider if your current plan doesn’t cover your trip.

Japan has a national medical care system. Travelers who are not part of the system are expected to pay for services when rendered or to prove payment will be forthcoming. If a medical emergency arises, we suggest you contact the U.S. Embassy first for guidance.