on the assembly line@kyorin university hospital

Boo-chan has had this chronic shoulder/neck pain for a while, and went to a chiropractor which unfortunately gave only short term relief. So he finally decided to go to a big hospital–Kyorin Univeristy Hospital.  I accompanied him in what seemed like an automated assembly line–fun, hahahah.

The hospital was about a 20-30 minute drive from our house. It was big and looked like an old building with new appendages. When you walked into the building, it seemed a little chaotic with people literally everywhere, sitting down waiting, standing in lines, paying at atm-looking machines, and people who were walkin up and down the big reception area–who seemed lost like us (I should have taken a pic).


We found out where to go and Boo-chan had to fill out a small application with his personal information and insurance details. Japan has National Insurance (国民健康保険) so you can visit any hospital or clinic and you pay a 30% down payment. Then he had to wait in a small line to receive a number to turn in the actual application. After they gave him his number and told him to wait for his number to be called (This reminded me of being in the DMV-Department of Motor Vehicles in America).


We waited for about 10 minutes for his number to be called, and he finally turned in his application. Then they gave us an informational paper to read. 1. The front side explained the process of  the visit.  2. The back side showed how to use the machines to pay by credit card or cash. You have two options , to pay at the cashier or at the machines. The hospital seemed very high-tech in that manner. We were told to wait again.

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This time took more time. About 25 minutes later  Boo-chan’s number was called–Yay. They gave him his hospital card with his name on it. This card will allow him to pay his bill at the machines at end of the visit. His real appointment starts from now.


1. We were directed to the second floor, which had many different departments. Boo-chan was going to the orthopedics section (整形外科). On the second floor There were 3 different reception desks based on which department you were going to. Boo-chan checked in again, and was told to wait for his name to be called.  2. I chose seats a little bit further away because it was less crowded. This area looked newer then the first floor.

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From here they called Boo-chan’s name on a loud but low pitched speaker and told him to go to door 22. Yes they had hallways with 8 doors that were numbered. Many different patients were called to go into various doors. Doors 20-25 were on the right side and 26-27 were on the left side.


Boo-chan met the first young doctor who interviewed him, and did a general overview of his symptoms Then he told him to get an x-ray of his neck. So we had to go to the basement to get this. Which meant more waiting.  After he got his x-ray, we came back up to the reception desk on the second floor and waited for his name to be called again.

This time instead of the young doctor, he saw an older doctor who examined his x-ray, asked a couple of questions, checked his body, and then gave him prescriptions. In Japan, patients believe that young doctors are inexperienced and therefor not good, and older doctors have vast knowledge and are better. I find some older doctors seem to have  an attitude or come across as snobbish. They are not used to second opinions in this country so what the doc says is ALWAYS right, and you never want to question him. In my case I always ask questions–oops.

So Boo-chan was finally finished with his appointment. Now time to go back to the first floor and turn in the papers again to get billed and receive his actual prescription. We waited in the line (会計計算窓口) and again given a number to wait.


1. When your number flashed on the screen you can either  wait in the payment line (会計支払い窓口) or you can pay at the machines. Boo-chan didn’t feel like waiting any longer so we paid at the machine and left the hospital.

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Now usually the visit is over. But we had to make one more stop. Outside of the hospital is a pharmacy, where we had to get his prescriptions filled. So we walked out of the hospital and waited to receive his medicine. Finally we were officially done–the whole hospital experience can be summed up in a couple of words, waiting, waiting and MORE waiting. But I was surprised it actually went faster then some of my previous experiences. Hopefully Boo-chan’s neck and shoulder will feel better soon.


ms fancy pant tokyo & pharmacy


  • Kyorin University Hospital (杏林大学医学部付属病院)
  • 6-20-2 Shinkawa, Mitaka City Tokyo
  • 0422-47-5511

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