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Region: East Asia

Area: 377 944 km²

Capital: Tokyo

Major cities: Yokohama, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagasaki, Nagoya, Okinawa, Tokyo

Climate: Climate varies greatly from isle to isle. Classical climate of temperate latitudes with hot summer and snowy winter on the Isle of Hokkaido; subtropical, characterized by the period of “plum rains” on the Isles of Kyushu (the northern part of the isle), Honshu, Shikoku; monsoonal type of climate on the isles of Ryukyu, Okinawa

Languages spoken: Japanese

Religion: Buddhism and Shintoism/Shinto

Local time: GMT +9

Calling code: +81

Currency: Yen

Credit cards: Visa, American Express, Mastercard

Visa: not required for citizens of Germany, Ireland, and the UK  for a stay up to 180 days; required for citizens of CIS countries. For more details visit

Transport: air, railway, mobile, and water transport

International airports (cities): Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka

Photos by Yelena Bzhola

Japan was among the last to enter the sphere of medical tourism. The country’s Ministry of Economy plans to establish the organization in the near future which would aid in promoting medical tourism in this land of sushi and technical wonders. This project will be financed by both state and private structures. Top-priority objective is entering the markets of the neighbouring China and Russia, as well as Middle East due to its close proximity and numerous population. Special attention will be afforded to translator and interpreter training to support medical tourists in the clinics of Japan.

Japan aims at capturing the palm of victory in medical tourism, leaving Singapore and Thailand behind. The government is not disconcerted even by the fact that the cost of medical services in Japan is considerably higher than its Asian rivals. The plans of building international medical industry in the country also include the development eco-technologies.

At present hundreds of overseas tourists are already coming to Japan for undergoing complex diagnostics. Priority fields of medical tourism in Japan also include the diseases of the digestive tract, regenerative medicine, oncology, and cardiology. 

Japan has excellent possibilities in the field of medical tourism. It provides the most advanced medical technologies and equipment, as well as solid health resort base. Another good news for those choosing Japan as their treatment destination is a special medical visa granted to overseas patients from all over the world. This document is provided for half-a-year term and allows for several entries in the country.

Recommended time for treatment: March to April, October to December.

Onsen thermal springs are the most vivid recovery experience in Japan. There are about 2300 of them in the country (64 of them are considered unique and draw together multiple balneological complexes in their area). The water of each of these springs is rich in mineral salts and varying by its chemical composition. Japanese balneologists (experts on medicinal springs) have distinguished 9 basic types of mineral waters enabling the doctors to treat a wide spectre of diseases. Thermal spring water is effective in relieving muscle pains and is good for treating arthrites, arthroses, other joint problems, and musculoskeletal disorders. It also greatly speeds up the rehabilitation process after surgeries.

Japanese people venerate and lovingly preserve their traditions, which holds true for service provision in the country’s treatment and recovery centres. For example, the root of Japanese horseradish “wasabi” has not only  gastronomy use in this country. Till recent times it has been used exclusively for food; but after its therapeutic properties have been proven, wasabi was included in the list of ingredients for spa procedures. Wasabi contains potassium, С-vitamin, and a whole range of phytochemical elements, enriches tissue cells with oxygen, improves blood circulation, and slows down the aging processes. In the list of services of many spa saloons wasabi procedures are intended for men, but women also can avail of them as a perfect remedy for cellulite problems.

Another traditional therapeutic and preventive procedure is Japanese bath “Ofuro” (Furo). This procedure is characterised by alternating baths in special tubs ‘furako’, with fixed temperature supported in each of the tubs. Warm and hot water with added healing leaves and petals of calendula, green tea, chamomile, mint, and melissa helps cure the ailments and regain lightness in the body. Japanese bath improves the work of cardio-vascular system and kidney, relieves rheumatic aches, and is a good prevention for colds. 

The Japanese Island of Okinawa is well-known for its multiple health centres, which offer climatotherapy and diet therapy as rehabilitation methods. Overseas tourists come here for rehabilitation after treatment of the diseases of skin, nervous system, musculoskeletal apparatus, and gynaecological problems. Recovery procedures at this resort are especially useful for those wishing to improve the function of their digestive system. Moreover, at the beaches of this island you can bask in the hot sand baths — they are situated right over thermal springs which emit vapours having beneficial effect on your blood circulation. Such procedure furthers speedy recovery after such diseases as neurodynia (nerve pain), rheumatism, and aches in the lower back.

Japanese cuisine has long ceased to be something exotic and peculiar and became quite usual and favoured in many countries around the world. The most popular dishes of Japanese national cuisine we should specifically distinguish the following:
Susi or Sushi (vinegar-flavoured rolls from boiled rice wrapped around the pieces of tuna fish, shrimp, calamari, cucumber, pickled radish, fried omelette, and other ingredients).
Sukiyaki (thin slices of beef fried with vegetables, tofu, and noodles, cooked in a special pot which is then served right on the table).
Tempura (various products (mostly shrimp, fish, and vegetables) deep-fried in boiling oil rolled in soft dough made of eggs, water, and flour).
Sashimi (thin sliced fresh fish fillets served with с soy sauce).
Yakitori (slices of chicken meat, liver, and vegetables skewered on bamboo sticks and grilled on coals).
Tonkatsu (pork fillet roasted in bread crumbs.
Shabu-shabu or Syabu-syabu (a dish of thin sliced beef dipped in boiled water and then in sauce).
Soba and Udon (two types of popular Japanese noodles; Udon is cooked from wheat flour, and Soba — from buckwheat. May be served in soups, as a side dish, or as an individual dish).
Japanese Curry (a dish of rice and curry sauce with meat, vegetables, potatoes, and other ingredients; unlike other dishes, curry is eaten with a spoon and not with sticks).
Gyūdon or “beef bowl” (rice flavoured with meat and onions fried in sweet sauce; served in a rice bowl).
Donburi Mono (dohn-boo-ree) or “rice bowl dish” (a special type of Japanese dishes which is spicy rice in a deep bowl topped with various dishes. When rice is topped with chicken and onions fried in an omelette, the dish is called Oyako Don; when topped with pork cutlet with an omelette (Tonkatsu) — Katsu Don; when topped with a shrimp tempura and a mix of Chinese vegetables — Tendon).
Sake (rice wine), served with all dishes, may be consumed cold or warmed.

Unique Japanese culture in combination with the latest urbanistic novelties of Western culture creates unmatched local flavour. Japan will surely leave a lasting impression on all tourists, even those arriving for health purposes only. Do not miss out on the possibility to appraise the colourful Oriental nature, ancient architecture, and simply interesting sights or active recreation spots.

Tokyo (Tōkyō, “Eastern Capital”)

Imperial Palace (Edo castle in the past); Tokyo Opera City; Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingū); Ueno Park (Ueno Kōen); Asakusa district (here there is Asakusa Shrine or Sanja-sama, souvenir shops with traditional Japanese goods — from kimono to hand-made combs). Be sure to leave some time for visiting Tokyo Disneyland.

Yokohama (Yokohama-shi)

Sankeien Garden.

Kamakura (Kamakura-shi)

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū — the most important Shinto shrine in the city of Kamakura; the Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu) — a monumental outdoor bronze statue of Amitābha Buddha.

Nikko (Nikkō-shi, literally “sunlight” or “sunshine”)

Ahinto Shrine Nikkō Tōshō-gū (or the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate).

Hakone (Hakone-machi)

Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, a museum under the open sky with hundreds of various sculptures and other tourist sites.

Kyoto (Kyōto, “Capital city”)

Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyōto Gosho); Nijo Castle; Buddhist Shrines Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillion) and Reanji (with a stone garden); Gion quarter; Buddhist Shrine Sanjusangendo (with 1001 gold-plated wooden statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy); Buddhist Shrine Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera; Silver Pavillion Temple Ginkakuji; Katsura Imperial Villa.

Nara (Nara-shi)

Nara Park (Nara Kōen, also known as Deer Park); Buddhist temple Kohfukuji; Kamakura Museum of National Treasures (Kamakura kokuhōkan) or Kamakura National Treasure House; Buddhist temple Tōdai-ji (with its Great Buddha Hall Daibutsuden) is the largest wooden building in the world), Kasuga Great Shrine (Kasuga-taisha).

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