Japanese Phrases for the Doctor’s Office

If you need to visit a doctor in Japan, you might run into some difficulties when communicating.  While there are English speaking doctors or staff at some clinics and hospitals in Japan, the majority of places only understand Japanese.  Even if you can find an English-speaking doctor, they might not be completely fluent and might have trouble understanding your requests.  While most doctors in Japan are very helpful, learning some Japanese can make your visit go much smoother and thorough.

These phrases use polite, formal Japanese. While there are more casual phrases that you could use, it’s usually much better to use more formal Japanese.  You can sound rude or unsophisticated if you use phrases that are too casual.  So we opted to use more polite Japanese phrases.  This way, you can be sure that  your Japanese will sound polite and the doctors and staff  will appreciate it too!



Pre-Visit Inquiries (Making an Appointment, Asking for Information, etc.)

Calling the Doctor


Scheduling an Appointment

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
予約よ やくyoyakuappointment/reservation
変更へんこうhenkouchange, modification, alteration

1.  I’d like to make an appointment.     –     予約(よやく)をしたいんですが。(yoyaku o shitain desu ga)

2.  Formal:  I’d like to reschedule the appointment.     –     予約(よ やく)の変更(へんこう)をお願(ねが)いしたいんですが。(yoyaku no henkou o onegai shitain desu ga)

3.  I’d like to cancel the appointment.     –     予約(よやく)をキャンセルしたいんですけど。(yoyaku o kyanseru shitain desu kedo)


Hours of Operation

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
診察しんさつshinsatsu medical examination
午前ごぜん gozen morning, a.m.
午後 ごご gogo afternoon, p.m.

1.  What time do you stop seeing patients in the morning?     –     午前(ごぜん)の診察(しんさつ)は何時(なんじ)までですか?(gozen no shinsatsu wa nanji made desu ka)

2.  What time do you start seeing patients in the afternoon?     –     午後(ごご)の診察(しんさつ)は何時(なんじ)からですか?(gogo no shinsatsu wa nanji kara desu ka)

3.  What are your hours?     –     診察(しんさつ)時間(じかん)は何時(なんじ)から何時(なんじ)までですか?(shinsatsujikan wa nanji kara nanji made desu ka)


Inquiring About English-Speaking Staff

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
N/Aいらっしゃるirassharuto be (exist), to go, to come
*Honorific expression
通訳 つうやく tsuuyaku interpretation, interpreter

1.  Is there anyone who can speak English?     –     英語(えいご)を話(はな)せる人(ひと)はいますか?(eigo o hanaseru hito wa imasu ka)

2.  Is there anyone who can speak English?     –     英語(えいご)を話(はな)せる方(かた)はいらっしゃいますか?(eigo o hanaseru kata wa irasshai masu ka)

3.  Do you provide an interpreter?     –     通訳(つうやく)のサービスはありますか?(tsuuyaku no saabisu wa arimasu ka)


Requests for the Doctor

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
伺い うかがうukagau 1. to enquire
2. to visit
*Humble expression

1.  Is Dr. XX in today?     –     XX先生(せんせい)は今日(きょう)いらっしゃいますか?(XX sensei wa kyou irasshai masu ka)

2.  I have something I’d like to ask the doctor.     –     先生(せんせい)にちょっとお伺(うかが)いしたいことがあるんですが。(sensei ni chotto oukagai shitai koto ga arun desu ga)


Entering the Doctor’s Office (Reception)

Doctor's Reception in Japan

Talking to the Receptionist

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
初診しょしんshoshinfirst (initial) medical examination
診るみるmiruto examine (medically)

1.  My name is YY and have an appointment at XX.     –     XX-時(じ)に予約(よやく)をしているYYです。(XX-ji ni yoyaku o shite iru YY desu)

2.  This is my first time seeing the doctor here.     –     初診(しょしん)です。(shoshin desu)

3.  I don’t have an appointment but can I still see the doctor?     –     予約(よやく)をしていないんですが、診(み)ていただけますか?(yoyaku o shie inain desu ga mite itadake masu ka)


Patient ID Card

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
忘れるわすれるwasureruto forget
診察券しんさつけんshinsatsukenpatient I.D. card

Most doctors in Japan will issue you a patient ID card upon your first visit to their clinic.  When you first visit a doctor’s clinic, you will usually have to fill out a form (name, address, allergies, pre-existing medical conditions, etc.).  Using this information, they will enter you into their system and issue you a patient ID card.  This card is only valid for that specific clinic.  For example,  if you go to doctor Suzuki’s clinic, the patient ID card you receive from them can only be used at that clinic.  Think of it as a “membership card.”

The next time you visit them, all you need to do is give them the patient ID card, and they find all of your personal information.  Many clinics also have online check-ins, where you can queue in line or make an appointment from their website or app.

1.  I ‘m sorry, but it looks like I lost my patient ID card.     –     すみません、診察券(しんさつけん)を無(な)くしてしまったようなんですが。(sumimasen shinsatsuken o nakushite shimatta you nan desu ga)

2.  I’m sorry, but I left my patient ID card at home.     –     すみません、診察券(しんさつけん)を忘(わす)れてしまったんですが。(sumimasen shinsatsuken o wasurete shimattan desu ga)


Insurance Matters

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
保険証ほけんしょうhokenshouinsurance card

Every time you visit a doctor in Japan, they will ask you for your insurance card.  If you live in Japan, it is required to have some kind of health insurance.  The good news is that anyone can enter into the Japanese national health insurance.  If you work full time, you may receive other types of health insurance from your company.  In any case, you will receive a health insurance card.  You’ll need to show this card every time your visit a doctor or pharmacy in Japan.

In the case where you don’t have your card (you applied for national insurance but haven’t received your card in the mail yet), you can pay the full price of your doctor’s visit/medicine.  Make sure you keep your receipt!!  When you do receive your health insurance card, you can go back to the doctor’s clinic/pharmacy with your receipt and get a partial refund (70%) on your bill.  Most insurance in Japan covers 70% of your bill.

1.  I don’t have insurance. (i.e. I’m not covered by Japanese insurance system.)     –     日本(にほん)の保険(ほけん)に入(はい)っていないんですが。(nihon no hoken ni haitte inain desu ga)

2.  I’m sorry but I left my insurance card at home.     –     すみません、保険証(ほけんしょう)を忘(わす)れてしまったんですが。(sumimasen hokenshou o wasurete shimattan desu ga)


Talking to the Doctor (Describing Your Condition, Symptoms, etc.)Talking to the Doctor in Japan

When you see the doctor, they will ask you what your symptoms or ailments are.  Usually, the doctor will ask something along the lines of “今日(きょう)はどうしましたか?(kyou wa dou shimashita ka?)”  Use the following words and phrases to help describe your symptoms to the doctors.

However, if you’re having trouble communicating using Japanese, be sure to use lots of gestures and expressions.  This can help the doctor to understand what your ailment may be.  Your doctor might also know a few medical terms in English, so you can also give that a try.  The Japanese adjective for painful, or sore (as in, “it hurts”) is “痛い – itai).  If you are feeling pain somewhere, you can always point to the area while saying “itai.”


Cold/Flu/Food Poisoning Symptoms

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
目眩 - Usually written in hiraganaめまいmemaidizziness, vertigo

1.  I have a fever.     –     熱(ねつ)があるんですが。(netsu ga arun desu ga)

2.  I have chills.     –     寒気(さむけ)がするんですが。(samuke ga surun desu ga)

3.  I have a headache.     –     頭(あたま)が痛(いた)いんですが。(atama ga itain desu ga)

4.  I have a severe headache.     –     ひどい頭痛(ずつう)なんですが。(hitdoi zutsuu nan desu ga)

5.  I have persistent cough.     –     咳(せき)が続(つづ)いているんですが。(seki ga tsuzuite irun desu ga)

6.  I have a stomachache.     –     お腹(なか)が痛(いた)いんですが。(onaka ga itain desu ga)

7.  I’ve been having diarrhea.     –     下痢(げり)が続(つづ)いているんですが。(geri ga tsuzuite irun desu ga)

8.  I have persistent constipation.     –     便秘(べんぴ)が続(つづ)いているんですが。(benpi ga tsuzuite irun desu ga)

9.  I get dizzy sometimes.     –     時々(ときどき)、めまいがするんですが。(tokidoki memai ga surun desu ga)

10.  I have no appetite and can’t sleep at night.     –     食欲(しょくよく)が無(な)くて、夜(よる)も眠(ねむ)れないんですが。(shokuyoku ga nakute yoru mo nemurenain desu ga)

11.  I took (over the counter) medicine, but my fever won’t go down.     –     薬(くすり)を飲(の)んだんですが、熱(ねつ)が下(さ)がらないんです。(kusuri o nondan desu ga netsu ga sagaranain desu)



KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
花粉症かふんしょうkafunshouhay fever
急にきゅうにkyuu nisuddenly, unexpectedly

1.  My hey fever is really bad.     –     花粉症(かふんしょう)がひどいんですが。(kafunshou ga hidoin desu ga)

2.  I started having severe skin rash all of a sudden.     –     急(きゅう)にひどい湿疹(しっしん)が出(で)てきたんですが。(kyuuni hidoi shisshin ga dete kitan desu ga)

3.  I’m allergic to XX.     –     XXのアレルギーがあるんですが。(XX no arerugii ga arun desu ga)



KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
転ぶころぶkorobuto fall down
捻るひねるhineruto twist
やけど - Usually written in hiraganaやけどyakedoburn
持ち上げるもちあげるmochiageruto lift up, to raise
こしkoshilower back
縫うぬうnuuto sew, to stitch

1.  I had a fall and I think I twisted my ankle.     –     転(ころ)んで足首(あしくび)を捻(ひね)ったようなんですが。(koron de ashikubi o hinetta you nan desu ga)

2.  I had a fall and l landed on my hand.  I think I hurt my wrist.     –    転(ころ)んだときに手(て)をついて、手首(てくび)を痛(いた)めてしまったようなんですが。(koronda toki ni te o tsuite tekubi o itamete shimatta you nan desu ga)

3.  I burned my hand while I was cooking.     –     料理(りょうり)をしていて手(て)をやけどしてしまったんですが。(ryouri o shite ite te o yakedo shite shimattan desu ga)

4.  I think I hurt my lower back when I tried to pick up a heavy item.     –     重(おも)い物(もの)を持(も)ち上(あ)げようとして腰(こし)を痛(いた)めてしまったようなんですが。(omoi mono o mochiage youto shite koshi o itamete shimatta you nan desu ga)

5.  It doesn’t stop bleeding.     –     血(ち)が止(と)まらないんですが。(chi ga tomaranain desu ga)

6.  Do I need to get it stitched?     –     縫(ぬ)わないといけませんか?(nuwanaito ikemasen ka)


Describing Conditions, Habits, Etc.

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
タバコ - Usually written in katakanaタバコtabakocigarette, tobacco
飲むのむnomuto drink
使うつかうtsukauto use

1.  I think I’m pregnant.     –     妊娠(にんしん)したみたいなんですが。(ninshin shita mitai nan desu ga)

2.  I don’t drink (alcohol).     –     お酒(さけ)は飲(の)みません。(osake wa nomi masen)

3.  I don’t smoke.     –     タバコは吸(す)いません。(tabako wa sui masen)

4.  I’m taking XX.     –     XXを飲(の)んでいます。(XX o nonde imasu)

5.  I’m using XX.     –     XXを使(つか)っています。(XX o tsukatte imasu)


Describing Length of Symptoms

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
にち, ひ, ~かnichi, hi, kaday

You can replace any of the numbers (number of days or weeks) to describe how long you were experiencing your symptoms for.  Check out our guide to learning Japanese numbers/counters if you need help with numbers in Japanese.

1.  Since yesterday     –     昨日(きのう)から (kinou kara)

2.  Since about 3 days ago     –     3(みっ)日(か)くらい前(まえ)から (mikka kurai mae kara)

3.  Since about 1 week ago     –     1(いっ)週間(しゅうかん)くらい前(まえ)から (isshuukan kurai mae kara)


Thanking the Doctor

1.  Thank you very much     –     どうもありがとうございました。 (doumo arigatou gozaimashita)

2.  Thank you.     –     お世話(せわ)になりました。(osewa ni narimashita)


Questions to Ask the Doctor

Questions to Ask the Doctor in Japan

Returning to Daily Activities

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
仕事しごとshigotojob, work
運転うんてんuntendrive, operation of a vehicle

1.  When can I go back to work?     –     仕事(しごと)にはいつから戻(もど)れますか?(shigoto niwa itsukara modore masu ka)

2.  Is it ok if I take a bath?     –     お風呂(ふろ)に入(はい)っても大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)ですか?(ofuro ni haitte mo daijoubu desu ka)

3.  How about just taking a shower?     –     シャワーだけならいいですか?(shawaa dake nara ii desu ka)

4.  Can I eat as usual?     –     食事(しょくじ)は普通(ふつう)にしても大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)ですか?(shokuji wa futsuu ni shite mo daijoubu desu ka)

5.  Is it ok if I drink alcohol?     –     お酒(さけ)は飲(の)んでも大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)ですか?(osake wa nonde mo daijoubu desu ka)

6.  Is it ok if I drive?     –     車(くるま)を運転(うんてん)してもいいですか?(kuruma o unten shite mo ii desu ka)

7.  Can I exercise?     –     運動(うんどう)をしても大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)ですか?(undou o shite mo daijoubu desu ka)


Questions About the Injury/Ailment

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
移る - Typically written in hiraganaうつるutsuruto transfer, to spread
治るなおるnaoruto be cured, to be healed
残るのこるnokoruto remain
包帯ほうたいhoutaibandage, wound dressing
治療ちりょうchiryoumedical treatment
長時間ちょうじかんchoujikanlong time
乗るのるnoruto get on, to ride

1.  Is it contagious?     –     他(ほか)の人(ひと)にうつりますか?(hoka no hito ni utsuri masu ka)

2.  How long do I need to be admitted?     –     どれくらい入院(にゅういん)しなければなりませんか?(dorekurai nyuuin shinakereba narimasen ka)

3.  How long will it take to heal?     –     どのくらいで治(なお)りますか?(dono kurai de naori masu ka)

4.  Am I going to be prescribed medication?     –     薬(くすり)は出(で)ますか?(kusuri wa demasu ka)

5.  How many days do I need to take medicine?     –     薬(くすり)は何日(なんにち)くらい飲(の)まなければなりませんか?(kusuri wa nannichi kurai nomanakereba narimasen ka)

6.  Are there going to be any after-effects?     –     後遺症(こういしょう)は残(のこ)りますか?(kouishou wa nokori masu ka)

7.  Do I need to change the bandage?     –     包帯(ほうたい)は換(か)えた方(ほう)がいいですか?(houtai wa kaeta houga ii desu ka)

8.  How often do I need to change the bandage?     –     包帯(ほうたい)はどのくらいの頻度(ひんど)で換(か)えたらいいですか?(houtai wa donokurai no hindo de kaetara ii desu ka)

9.  Is it going to leave a scar?     –     傷跡(きずあと)は残(のこ)りますか?(kizuato wa nokori masu ka)

10.  Do I need surgery soon?     –     すぐに手術(しゅじゅつ)をしなければなりませんか?(sugu ni shujutsu o shinakereba narimasen ka)

11.  How long should I wait to come back if my condition doesn’t get better?     –     もし良(よ)くならなければ、次(つぎ)はいつ頃(ごろ)、伺(うかが) えばいいですか?(moshi yoku naranakereba tsugi wa itsugoro ukagaeba ii desu ka)

12.  Under what condition should I come back to be seen again after this?     –     この後(あと)、どんな症状(しょうじょう)になったら、また伺(うかが)えばいいですか?(kono ato donna shoujou ni nattara mata ukagaeba ii desu ka)

13.  Is there anything else I should or should not do?     –     他(ほか)に何(なに)か気(き)をつける事(こと)はありますか?(hoka ni nani ka ki o tsukeru koto wa arimasu ka)

14.  I’d like to go back to my own country to treat this.  Is it ok if I take a long flight?     –     自分(じぶん)の国(くに)に帰(かえ)って治療(ちりょう)をしたいと思(おも)うんですが、飛行機(ひこうき)に長時間(ちょうじかん)乗(の)っても大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)ですか?(jibun no kuni ni kaette chiryou o shitai to omoun desu ga hikouki ni choujikan notte mo daijoubu desu ka)


Talking to Receptionist (Paying the Bill, Asking Questions, etc.)

Paying your Doctor's Bill Currency

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
会計かいけいkaikeibill, tab
治療費ちりょうひchiryouhimedical expenses, medical fees
相談そうだんsoudanconsultation, discussion

1.  I’d like to pay.     –     お会計(かいけい)をお願(ねが)いします。(okaikei o onegai shimasu)

2.  Where do I pay?     –     お会計(かいけい)はどこですか?(okaikei wa doko desu ka)

3.  The doctor told me to make an appointment for next visit.     –     次(つぎ)の予約(よやく)をするように言(い)われたんですが。(tsugi no yoyaku o suru youni iwaretan desu ga)

4.  Any day is fine.     –     いつでも大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)です。(itsu demo daijoubu desu)

5.  I prefer morning/afternoon.     –     できれば、午前中(ごぜんちゅう)   /  午後(ごご)がいいんですが。(dekireba gozenchuu / gogo ga iin desu ga)

6.  I’d like to talk to a social worker.  How do I make an appointment?     –     ソーシャルワーカーの方(かた)とお話(はなし)をしたいんですが、どうやって予約(よやく)をすればいいですか?(sōsharuwākā no kata to ohanashi o shitain desu ga douyatte yoyaku o sureba ii desu ka)

7.  Is there anyone I can talk about the payment?     –     治療費(ちりょうひ)の事(こと)についてご相談(そうだん)したいんですが、お話(はな)しできる方(かた)はいらっしゃいますか?(chiryouhi no koto ni tsuite gosoudan shitain desu ga ohanashi dekiru kata wa irasshai masu ka)


Getting Medicine (Going to the Pharmacy, Picking Up/Buying, Questions, etc.)Going to the Pharmacy in Japan Girl

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
おくすり手帳おくすりてちょうokusuri techouprescription medicine history handbook
持つもつmotsuto possess, to own, to have, to hold
飲み忘れるのみわすれるnomi wasureruto forget to drink
場合ばあいbaaicase (i.e. in the case of ~), situation
食前しょくぜんshokuzenbefore a meal
食後しょくごshokugoafter a meal
やめる - Commonly written in hiraganaやめるyameruto stop, to end, to quit
眠いねむいnemuisleep, drowsy
副作用ふくさようfukusayouside effect(s)
一緒にいっしょにissho nitogether

1.  I’d like to get this. (Say this phrase as you show the prescription to the pharmacy staff.)     –     これをお願(ねが)いします。(kore o onegai shimasu)

2.  Pharmacist:  Do you have a medical prescription handbook?     –     おくすり手帳(てちょう)はお持(も)ちですか?(okusuri techou wa omochi desu ka)

3.  Yes, I do.     –     はい、持(も)っています。(hai motte imasu)

4.  No, I don’t.     –     いいえ、持(も)っていません。(iie motte imasen)

5.  I don’t have medical prescription handbook.  Can I get one here?     –     おくすり手帳(てちょう)を持(も)っていないんですが、こちらでいただけますか?(okusuri techou o motte inain desu ga kochira de itadake masu ka)

6.  What should I do if I forget to take it.     –     もし飲(の)み忘(わす)れた場合(ばあい)はどうしたらいいですか?(moshi nomiwasure ta baai wa doushitara ii desu ka)

7.  How many times a day do I need to take it?     –     1日(にち)に何回(なんかい)飲(の)めばいいですか?(ichinichi ni nankai nomeba ii desu ka)

8.  Do I take it before or after meal?     –     食前(しょくぜん)と食後(しょくご)のどちらに飲(の)めばいいですか?(shokuzen to shokugo no dochira ni nomeba ii desu ka)

9.  Is it ok if I stop using it once symptoms get better?     –     症状(しょうじょう)が良(よ)くなりましたら、使(つか)うのをやめてもいいですか?(shoujou ga yoku narimashitara tsukauno o yamete mo ii desu ka)

10.  Does this make you drowsy?     –     この薬(くすり)は眠(ねむ)くなりますか?(kono kusuri wa nemuku narimasu ka)

11.  Does this have any side effects?     –     何(なに)か副作用(ふくさよう)はありますか?(nanika fukusayou wa arimasu ka)

12.  I’m taking XX now.  Is it ok to take this and XX together?     –     今(いま)、XXの薬(くすり)も飲(の)んでいるんですが、一緒(いっしょ)に飲(の)んでも大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)ですか?(ima XX no kusuri mo nonde irun desu ga issho ni nondemo daijoubu desu ka)


Unique/Miscellaneous Requests

Unique Requests Talking to Doctor

KanjiHiragana/KatakanaRōmajiEnglish Translation
診断書しんだんしょshindanshomedical certificate
書くかくkakuto write
レントゲン - Always written in katakanaレントゲンrentogenX-ray
写真しゃしんshashinphoto, picture
頂く - Commonly written in hiraganaいただくitadaku to humbly receive (honorific Japanese)
提出ていしゅつteishutsusubmission (of documents, etc.)
面会時間めんかい じかんmenkai jikanvisiting hours

1.  Can you write a medial certificate in English?     –     診断書(しんだんしょ)を英語(えいご)で書(か)いていただけますか?(shindansho o eigo de kaite itadake masu ka)

2.  Can I get a copy of CT and X-ray?     –     CTとレントゲン写真(しゃしん)のコピーをいただけますか?(CT to rentogen shashin no kopī o itadake masu ka)

3.  Can you write a medical certificate because I need to submit a medical certificate to my office?     –     会社(かいしゃ)に提出(ていしゅつ)する必要(ひつよう)があるので、診断書(しんだんしょ)を書(か)いていただけますか?(kaisha ni teishutsu suru hitsuyou ga arunode shindansho o kaite itadake masu ka)

4.  What are the visiting hours?     –     面会(めんかい)時間(じかん)は何時(なんじ)から何時(なんじ)までですか?(menkaijikan wa nanji kara nanji made desu ka)



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Dallen Nakamura

Dallen was born and raised in Hawaii and never had a passport until he was 24. His first trip outside of the US was to Japan. He loved it so much that when he got back home, he immediately quit his job and moved to Japan without a plan. While he loves the people and culture of Japan, his true love is food. He is convinced that Japan has the best food in the world and is slowly eating his way around the world to prove it.

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