What's up doc?
Finding a doctor in Tokyo who speaks your language isn’t as challenging as you might think. Thanks to an effort by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, a website and telephone hotline can help you find any English-speaking (or Chinese-, Korean-, Thai- or Spanish-speaking) medic around town.
An online search of the TMG’s medical information page yields an incredible 60 results for English-speaking doctors in pediatrics in Shibuya ward alone. You can narrow your search by medical specialty, location and language—and the results will also tell you how much English is spoken: fluent, daily conversation or a little.
The website also includes two telephone helplines—one for information and another for emergency translation services “for foreign patients visiting a hospital if their treatment is not going to be carried out smoothly because of language difficulty.”
For foreign families with children, figuring out what to do in an emergency is often a big concern. It helps to have an established relationship with a doctor or medical centre that offers an after-hours telephone service, such as the Tokyo Medical & Surgical Clinic opposite Tokyo Tower or the National Medical Clinic in Minami Azabu.
The only hospital in Tokyo with a 24-hour dedicated pediatric emergency care unit is the National Children’s Hospital in Setagaya-ku.
Emergency pediatric medical care—with the possibility of an English-speaking doctor—can also be accessed at St. Luke’s International Hospital near Tsukiji and at Hiroo’s Japanese Red Cross Medical Centre. Foreigner-friendly St. Luke’s has a free translation service for patients who speak English, Russian and Tagalog.
Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Medical Information
Tel: 03-5285-8181, daily 9am-8pm. Emergency Translation Services. Tel: 03-5285-8185, weekdays 5-8pm, weekends & hols 9am-8pm. www.himawari.metro.tokyo.jp
Tokyo Medical & Surgical Clinic
32 Shiba Koen Bldg, 3-4-30 Shiba-koen, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3436-3028. Nearest stn: Kamiyacho or Akabanebashi. www.tmsc.jp
National Medical Clinic
#202, 5-16-11 Minami Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3473-2057. Nearest stn: Hiroo. www.nmclinic.net
National Children’s Hospital
2-10-1 Okura, Setagaya-ku. Tel: 03-3416-0181. Nearest stn: Seijo-gakuen-mae.
St. Luke’s International Hospital
9-1 Akashicho, Chuo-ku. Tel: 03-3541-5151. Nearest stn: Tsukiji. www.luke.or.jp
Japanese Red Cross Medical Centre
4-1-22 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3400-1311. Nearest stn: Ebisu. www.med.jrc.or.jp