Is Japan the next destination on your list? Then you should start planning. Included in your preparation should be information on which vaccinations you may need for Japan, in order to avoid illnesses abroad.
Below is a list of officially recommended vaccinations for Japan. Whether you need all of them depends on your trip, your medical history and your current health, amongst other things.
To have a personal plan determining which injections for Japan are best for you, you can book a free telephone consultation with one of our prescribing nurses.
There are other health risks in Japan that vaccinations cannot prevent. In those cases, being informed is the first step. Below is a list of the diseases present in the country, followed by ways you can reduce the risk of contracting them.
Dengue is present in the country. The risk is highest in towns and cities where population is abundant, and during the night when the infected mosquitoes are feeding. When travelling in Japan, the risk concerns everyone, so you are recommended to take precautions.
There are a variety of insect and tick-borne diseases present in Japan. These include lyme disease, chikungunya, crimean-congo haemorrhagic fever, leishmaniasis and scrub typhus. If you notice skin lesions or itchy bumps, and experience dizziness or joint-aches, these may be symptoms of an insect bite.
The risk is widespread throughout Japan. You are exposed to insects and ticks during the day and night when they are active, especially in the warmer months, but the insects have been known to survive even freezing temperatures.
There have been reported cases of avian influenza, also known as bird flu, in Tokyo, Kagawa Prefecture, Miyagi Prefecture and Chiba Prefecture.
The illness is not usually spread from animal to human unless you are in contact with fluids of an infected bird or ingesting uncooked poultry. So as to avoid the risk, you are recommended to reduce exposure to wild birds or bird farms where the threat is highest.
Consult a medical professional if you experience flu-like symptoms or pneumonia-like symptoms such as chest pain or coughing.
Schistosomiasis is a disease found in freshwater pools and is spread by infected snails that can cause itchy skin or digestive illnesses. It is considered to be eliminated from Japan, but the risk level within Japan is being verified, as the snail carrier of the disease is still present in Kofu basin and Obitsu River in the Yamanashi Prefecture and Chiba Prefecture respectively.
It is important to take precautions during your stay in Japan, as the diseases can be spread in many different ways and the risk can increase at anytime.
There is a risk of dengue fever in Japan, and you cannot be protected against the disease by vaccination.
Because of this, it is really important you protect yourself against mosquito bites, which are the main cause of the infection during your stay in the country.
There are various insect and tick-borne diseases to protect yourself against in Japan.
The cases reported are widespread throughout the country, and there are no vaccines. You should therefore contact a doctor for an assessment if, at any point during your travels, you notice irritated skin lesions or feel dizzy and achy.
To lower your risk, practice meticulous mosquito and tick bite prevention throughout your trip, especially if you plan on walking through grassy areas or being active during the night, as these insects and ticks may be most active and present.
As cases of bird flu have been reported in Japan, and even though no current cases are underway, it is recommended that you practice precaution if you are planning on being in contact with wild birds or if you are going to a bird farm or a place where bird faeces are prominent.
Although the risk of schistosomiasis is in the process of being declared as eliminated in Japan, freshwater is where the risk was present. Therefore, there are measures to take if you encounter or plan on treading through freshwater pools.
Below are some of the most important services you may need while in Japan.
British Embassy Tokyo The British Embassy Tokyo can provide assistance while you are there. You can reach them by calling +81 (3) 5211-1100.
Local emergency medical services For emergencies needing medical assistance, dial +81 119 to be connected to an ambulance. Operators speaking English, and other languages, will be able to help you.
Medical facilities and practitioners In the case that you may get ill while in Japan, medical costs can be quite high, so make sure you have travel health insurance and funds to cover steep medical costs or repatriation. You may not find many English medical practitioners, however you may find that some Japanese doctors speak English.
Check if you need vaccinations Speak with one of our prescribing nurses at least six to eight weeks before travel for advice on vaccinations for Japan
Insect protection Bring everything needed to avoid insect bites while in Japan, including DEET insect repellent
Travel insurance If you become ill in Japan and did not receive the right vaccinations before you left, your travel insurance can become void. So, make sure to check before you leave
Note useful contact numbers Keep a list of useful contacts to take with you to Japan in case of an emergency
Anne Marie Major, Independent Nurse Prescriber
June 20, 2019
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