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Cost of birthing in Japan

Japan With Kids - Forums: Health Topics: Pregnancy/Birth/Childrearing: Cost of birthing in Japan
By rachel KANIE on Wednesday, February 6, 2002 - 2:41 am:

my name is rachel , 28, married to a japanese guy and pregnant with our first baby.
we are going to go back to japan at the end of april and i am looking for info about giving birth in japan (tokyo/saitama)
anyone can recomend a good place? good doctor? (i heard that dr. sakamoto is good)
also can anyone tell me how much its going to cost? i know that it depend on the place i do it , but around how much?

By Karen on Thursday, February 7, 2002 - 11:38 am:

Hi Rachel,
You might want to check out this discussion which is under Birth Options on this site:

Cost varies widely from about Y250 000 at a national Japanese hospital to Y800 000+ at the large foreigner hospitals (like St. Luke's). Most midwife and OB/GYN clinics are about Y450 000+. Again, the price varies widely. If you have Japanese National Health Insurance you will be reimbursed by your ward office for Y300 000 or Y350 000 as a child birth benefit, which makes it a bit more affordable.

Good luck! Karen

note from Admin: The Japanese term for the gift after birth is shussan ikuji ichijikin.

By rachel KANIE on Monday, February 11, 2002 - 7:57 am:

hi karen!
thanks for you`r info
what about the reimbures?
am i going to be reimbursed if i dont have the national health insurance? what if i am covered by my husband`s health insurance from his company? am i still going to get that money?

thanks again, rachel

By Cornelia on Monday, February 11, 2002 - 8:57 am:

I've never heard of anyone getting the gift without having National Health Insurance. But if you husband is a Japanese National he probably has it or will have it upon re-entry if he is working for the same company and there is continuity. It would be part of his benefits of employment and he would be paying a family premium as a married man. A huge number of Japanese purchase additional private insurance as well, but that is designed for long term illnesses requiring very lengthy hospital stays and procedures that take the patient over the life-time ceiling of National Health expenditure per member. You might want to double check with your husband or if he is useless in this, then his benefits office at his company. Some companies are getting more creative in the way they hire people and are re-designing traditional benefits packages (part of the labor shake-up here due to long recession).

The "gift" is also given for miscarriages after a certain month.

By Karen Kondo on Tuesday, February 26, 2002 - 2:51 pm:


If I work but I don't belong to National Health program ( I belong to Global) could we still get the "gift money" because my husband has health insurance with his company -even though I am not totally dependant on him? (i.e I had an income over the limit.) Becasue if a Japanese -Japanese couple both worked they would surely only get one gift?

By Chieko Nishimura on Saturday, March 9, 2002 - 11:43 am:

Hi Karen.
Receiving the 'gift money' is pretty tricky.

You receive the money from your husband's company health insurance if:

(1) you are 100% dependant on your husband.
(2) you have a job but make less than Y1,300,000/y.

You receive the money from your own National Health Insurance or company's health insurance if

(1) you make over the limit (Y1,300,000/y) and has either insurance.

Unfortunately you can get only one gift money even if both wife and husband work full time. Like my husband and myself, my money was reimbursed only from health insurance with my company when I had my baby girl.

By Karen Kondo on Monday, March 11, 2002 - 12:06 pm:

Thank you Chieko. Can I ask a couple more questions?

1. Global and other private health insurance companies always say that the Japanese Health insurance does not cover costs of being pregnant. This weekend we visited a clinic and they state that you can claim the cost from the city office - do they really mean the gift money?

2. About the monthly check ups does the Japanese National health insurance cover them?

3. If I don't belong to the Japanese National health system - can I still get the mother and child handbook upon
confirmation of my pregnancy?

4. To be 100% dependant - does that run from Jan - Dec?

You see the reason for all these questions is that I chose not to enter the Japanese system through my employer as they also deduct the pension which is so expensive and I joined Global. I could join the health insurance system only through my city hall but I will have to pay back payments from when I moved there and then I heard it's also hard to withdraw from.

Any responses would be greatfully received!! No-one place or person seems to be able to answer us!


By Karen on Saturday, March 16, 2002 - 3:20 pm:

Hi Karen,

I'll try and answer some of your questions.

1. Japanese National Health Insurance doesn't cover the cost of a normal pregnancy and delivery. If you need special medical tests or a c-section, you'll be covered by NHI.

I recently heard that you can also claim the cost of one of the first prenatal exams, the long one when they do all the blood testing.

The gift money is given to those with Japanese public insurance even if you leave the country to have your baby.

2. Japanese NHI does not cover regular routine prenatal checkups.

NOTE, however, that all maternity costs (prenatal checkups and delivery) are tax deductible. Even your transportation costs (including train fare) are deductible. Keep ALL your receipts as they must be submitted with your tax return.

3. You will receive the Mother and Child Health Handbook (Boshi Kenko Techo) upon registering your pregnancy with your local ward office.

I was issued both the English and Japanese versions of the book and was told that the Japanese version was the only 'official' one. That said, I've only ever used my English one and haven't encountered any problems.

Make sure to use the freebie coupons from your Japanese booklet to save some cash. You can use these even if you aren't enrolled in NHI - I used them when I was enrolled on Global.

Like you, I was on Global for the early part of my pregnancy and then switched over to NHI later on. I had to back pay to the beginning of the year. If you switch, you should do so soon so as to avoid paying double insurance (it hurt to fork out the money for that back pay!). Ward offices have been instructed to charge back fees for two years; luckily I wasn't charged that. I think it's a gamble re. back payments - some charge, some don't.

You're right, NHI is notoriously difficult to withdraw from because legally, every resident of Japan (permanent or nonpermanent) must be a member of public insurance (either Employee's Health insurance or National). The expatriate health insurance plans are currently a legal 'grey' area.

As for your high pension payments, they are refundable. See my long-winded post at:

4. Dependency runs from January to December, yes, at least that's how my husband's company viewed it when I was signing on to his Employee Health Insurance after being on National Health Insurance (because I made more money than him the year before I couldn't go on as his 'dependent' - they're just not used to women breadwinners are they? heh heh)

Hope this helps, Karen

By Cornelia on Friday, April 5, 2002 - 1:15 pm:

After the birth (from a New York Times article 30 May 2000):

"A law that goes into effect next month will more than double the number of preschool children whose parents qualify for monthly government subsidies. Currently, qualified parents who have children younger than 3 receive allowances of $50 a month for the first and second children and $100 a month for every child thereafter. Under the new law, the subsidies will continue until the children reach 6.

Welfare officials estimate that 70 percent of preschool children will qualify for the program, which is restricted to households with annual incomes of less than $43,000 for self-employed workers and $67,000 for salaried workers.

The officials said the $50 subsidy, though seemingly small, covered 25 percent of the basic monthly expense, including food, clothing and utilities for young children. The officials said that by extending the program to 6, they hoped to alleviate some of the financial burdens of child rearing. But they flatly denied that the effort was directly intended to promote childbirth."

This is the 5000 yen per month that I was talking about in another discussion. I didn't know about it until my daughter was about 1 year old. Then I applied and started receiving it but there was no retro-active payment. So my ignorance cost me about Y65,000.

By the way there has been a similar benefit in Germany for many years now called "Kindergelt".

By Caroline on Saturday, November 9, 2002 - 3:14 pm:

As a follow-up to Karen's message of March 16, 2002, I'd like to confirm whether the FULL cost of a C-section delivery is covered by NHI. Anyone has official information? I have been told that my only option will be a C-section if my baby doesn't turn around within a week. The breech position the baby is in is allows for normal delivery but the problem is the disproportion between the baby's head size and my pelvis. Does this classify as "emergency" delivery? Will I be covered fully?

By Admin on Sunday, November 10, 2002 - 8:41 am:

That would be full cost minus your co-pay obligation (approx. 30% for office visits but I don't know what it is for surgery). Yes, c-section is not considered a normal birth, but an emergency procedure.

You can find out more by asking your doctor's office. Also Tokyo City has foreign resident's advisory telephone help line if your Japanese isn't up to it (certainly applies to me).

By Heather Takano on Saturday, March 29, 2003 - 8:03 am:

Why is having a baby so complicated?? I went through the same complications over National Health Insurance as I also had private cover and decided to switch to National. They told me that I would have to pay two years back payments as I had entered their ward two years previously. I was shocked! I can understand going back to the beginning of the financial year, but to when you first entered the ward?!? Anyway, I went back a week later and spoke to a different person who said this only applied to people who had no insurance and that as I had an existing policy, even though it was private, they would waive the payments. They were very worried about doing this and asked a lot of questions - different people within the office had different opinions, but they did finally let me join with no back payments. I agree that it does seem to be a quesion of luck.

My own question is, with all these little 'gifts' from the ward office, how do you find out what you are and aren't entitled to? Is there any useful site or book that will list what is available and how to claim? Of course I can just go and ask at the ward office but it helps if you know what you are asking for as my local office is never very helpful with volunteering information!


By Karen on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 7:13 pm:

Hi Heather,

If you are a registered resident of your ward you are entitled to recieve the birth gift money from your ward. This applies if you have your baby here or outside of Japan.

Be sure to keep all your receipts (even those for transportation) as you can claim EVERYTHING as a medical deduction on next year's tax.

If you're looking for a site with information on what you're entitled to, this is probably the most complete one in existence! Have you tried exploring the archives here? There is a huge wealth of information.

Good luck in weaving your way through the red tape of bureacracy here - it's very frustrating at times!!


By Khristine Schaffner on Friday, August 1, 2003 - 6:06 pm:

Hello, Does anyone know how I can get the "gift" money following the birth of my daughter in a Japanese hospital? My husband has what the kuyakushou called "employee" health insurance. It seems the same as national, but a woman at the shibuya-ku kuyakushou told me that is not the same that I have to go through his company's insurance to receive the gift money. I have the boshi teki and I got a pack of papers from the kuyakushou when I was pregnant and I thought there was some sort of a postcard to apply for the money but I cannot locate it. I can only find a postcard to request a postnatal visit from a nurse. Your advice would be appreciated.

By mama on Sunday, January 18, 2004 - 3:14 pm:

We are enrolled in Japanese Health Insurance through my husbands office.
What costs of a C Section are covered by the health insurance?

I understand that the actual operation surgery would be covered, how about hospital stay, medication and doctor visits thereafter, are they covered too?

Anyone had a C Section in Tokyo, I would real appreciate if you could let me know about how much it might cost. I am considering a hospital like St Lukes or a at Toho Womens clinic.

How much gift money the ward gives for C Section?

By Rowena Adamos on Monday, February 2, 2004 - 4:42 pm:

Hi everyone! I'm now 6 months pregnant with my first baby. I was so glad to find this board, because my husband and I are kind of having difficulty understanding the insurance thingy, besides the thought of how to take care of a baby... well that's a different issue. Hope someone can help me. :)

To Karen or anyone who can advise, you mentioned that as long as we are registered residents in our ward, we can receive the gift money? My husband's health insurance is under the "employee health insurance" kind, and his contract mentioned receiving 300,000 yen as gift money for having a baby. Is this you think the same "gift money" from the ward you mentioned? Or different altogether? Second, in case I give birth outside Japan, would you know what requirements are there or the procedure for re-imbursement?

To Cornelia, I also heard of the 5000 yen allowance children under three receive here in Japan. Do you think it would still apply even if I gave birth outside Japan, then come back here and register my baby in our ward?

I'm so sorry if these inquiries have been answered altogether in another thread. But please, can you point it out to me, in case? If not, thanks in advance for your inputs. :)

soon-to-be mama

By Cornelia on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 8:29 am:

Dear Rowena,
It doesn't matter where your child was born. As long as you are in the Japanese Welfare system (which includes their National Health Plan whether through work or directly through the ward office) your child is entitled to the same benefits as any other child. The Y300,000 "gift" for birthing a child (also given for miscarriages after a certain month)is the same whether you are covered through work or directly as long as it is the NHI (Japanese National Health Insurance).
I received my "gift" more or less on the same day that I went to the ward office to register the birth (within 14 days of the birth you are supposed to bring your boshi techo, which has the official birth record in it, to the ward office). Then I went to the NHI counter with the birth certificate issued and filled in another paper and showed my NHI membership card, and they handed me a cash envelope with the Y300,000.

I've heard that the amount might vary slightly across Japan. And also you might want to bring your bank account pass book just in case your ward office prefers to do a transfer straight into your account instead of giving you cash.

If you do not have a "boshi techo", then get one. It is needed for all children residing in Japan under the age of 6. Once your child is registered and has her/his boshi techo you will get notices in the mail when the regularly scheduled immunizations fall due. These are highly encouraged by the Government and therefore provided free of charge. Other optional immunizations must be paid for. See the conversation on Immunizations.

Also see the article on the boshi techo at:

Finally, there are some welfare benefits that are available to Japanese that are not available to foreigners unless they have Permanent Residence status or have been naturalized. However, the Y5000 yen gift for kids under the age of 3 (actually I think this was increased to age 6 but they are always fiddling with these things from year to year) provided you meet the income ceiling qualification is for everyone working in Japan and in the NHI system.

By Cornelia on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 8:37 am:

Dear "mama",
C-section is no longer considered a natural birth but a medical emergency and is covered in full (minus the co-payment?).
The need for a c-section delivery is decided by the doctor. From what I've heard from women who've had both c-sections and natural births, the natural birth leads to a much easier and quicker recovery. But it is still very common here to get a vertical cut, and it is fairly accepted now in all other countries that a horizontal cut (bikini cut) is easier to recover from and less dangerous to the baby and the mother. So you need to hammer down the type of c-section cut you are going to endure, and if you don't agree with your doctor, find another doctor.

By Caroline on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 12:33 pm:

My scheduled C-section turned into an "emergency C-section" as I passed out after being anesthesized (my heart actually stopped beating for a few seconds), even though I was given the internationally-accepted dosage. This was at Aiiku hospital which I nonetheless recommend highly. My case was an exception, but still, it is important to know the risks involved in C-sections. My baby was breach and big, so I opted for a C-section after careful consideration of the options.

By Mama on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 12:57 pm:

Dear Caroline how much did it cost total at Aiiku including everything(meds, stay, etc.) and how long did you stay there?

My first child was born (outside japan)through caesearean section(vertical cut) atleast the skin cut is vertical and I am sure uterus cut was also vertical, hence going in for a VBAC might be more risky for me than those who have the horizontal cut caeserean, so it seems the second time round it would be caesearean again. How long before the due date the doctors wait for scheduled C Section. The last time I was totally out(general anaesthesia), but this time round I would like to be awake during the C Section, is that possible at Aiiku or St Lukes or other hospitals, do they allow husbands to be present, I would very much want him to be present

By Caroline on Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 9:17 am:

Hi again, I think the cost for the c-section at Aiiku was around 660,000, and I was reimbursed about 350,000 (I'm on my husband's work national insurance plan). I stayed 7 days. I was so eager to recover quickly. The pain killers they offered me after the operation were totally useless, so I pressed the doctor and was given suppositories that worked instantly: I was up the day after operation and walking the following day! My sister underweant a C-section 12 years ago at a Japanese hospital and suffered so much pain as she was not given any pain killers. She was thus unable to breasfeed (I breastfeed immediately) and also had an infection. She still cries when she recalls the birth... The thinking seems to have changed (it was previously thought that pain killers would slow recovery - when actually it is the total opposite!!)
- My husband was able to attend, although in my case, since I passed out, he came in after the baby was born.
Aiiku is quite open to different options and although the quality of the nursing staff varies, on the whole everyone is quite friendly and helpful.

By Caroline on Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 10:31 am:
One more thing: many foreigners at Aiiku seem to prefer private rooms, but I was quite happy sharing a room. The shared rooms now have 5 beds instead of 6 and each patient has its own little fridge (a life saver if you are breastfeeding and starving for extra food) and a closet. There is also a sink and mirror. If you are lucky you can get a bed next to a window (2 of the 5 beds are next to a window). The bathroom and the shower are close by, in the hallway. Both times I stayed there, there were 2 or 3 people in my room MAX, and there were days when I was alone, so I had all the space to myself and my visitors.

Last, but not least, Aiiku is close to National Azabu, so if hubby or friends are visiting, they can bring you yummy stuff from there.

By Natasha on Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 11:16 am:

Caroline, was the Y350,000 yen in addition to the "gift" money? Then that would affectively have covered the whole cost of the birth? Or did you have to come up with Y300,000 or so out of pocket?

By Caroline on Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 2:17 pm:

No, the 350,000 yen is the gift money. You need to put the balance.

By Mama on Wednesday, March 3, 2004 - 8:17 am:

Dear Caroline,

Thanks very much for taking the time to put in info regarding Aiiku.

By Erin Siddall on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 9:16 pm:

Does anyone have information regarding the cost of a regular birth at Aiku, and also the cost with an epidural (if possible there)? I am also curious if anyone also knows the cost of an epiduaral birth at Seibo Hospital and if it is more expensive than a regular birth. I heard that there is only one doctor at Seibo who does them and he has a clinic outside of Siebo (maybe Mr. Sakamoto)...

Any info appreciated,

By Penny Poe on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 9:41 am:

Aiiku Hospital charges are as follows (this is current as of my delivery on Feb 24):

Group room and all charges for five days, 500,000yen
Father in delivery room, 10,000yen
Private LDR, 10,000yen per 24 hours
Epidural, 60,000yen for two hours and 5,000yen for each additional hour
N2O gas, 30,000yen
By drug injection, 10,000yen
Private rooms range from an additional 15 to 45,000 per night. You basically get what they have on the day you deliver. First time I got the 20,000yen room, second time the only room available was the 30,000yen per night. It was also much nicer.

I have the current price list and could fax it to you if you wish. I believe I also have Seibo's/Dr. Sakamoto's too. Email me if you have any questions.

By Erin Siddall on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 3:49 pm:

Thanks so much Penny! You information is very valuable. I would really appreciate if you could fax the information for Dr. Sakamoto/Seibo and price list for Aiiku Hospital as well. I will mail you.

By Sian on Wednesday, April 7, 2004 - 9:46 pm:

Just wondering if someone could clarify the gift money situation for me. I am under the Japanese Health Insurance but planning to go home (outside of Japan) to have the baby at around 32 weeks. Just wondering if you need to register the baby within 14 days,as written above, or can you have a longer grace period. I wasn't planning on returning to Japan until the baby was around 6 weeks. If it does have to be done within 14 days can my huband register the baby on our behalf, ie do you need to "produce" the baby at registration, or is just the birth certificate enough? Thanks in advance.

By Bridget Kihara on Thursday, April 8, 2004 - 12:55 pm:

Hi Sian
I would confirm this with your hokenjyou (health center) before you leave. Within the Botechichyo is a postcard that has to be completed and returned to the hokenjyou within 14 days. It may be enough to just send the post card from home ensuring it arrives within the 14 day period. I would ask at the hokenjyou first to avoid loosing your gift money and too avoid the added hassle of extra paper work upon your return!
Good luck for the rest of your pregnancy. Bridget

By Admin on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 10:09 pm:

A NEW REQUIREMENT? From new mother residing in Setagaya-ku 2004 November:
"Apparently having the NHI is not enough, you also have to be paying into Japanese social security as well. We didn't have my husband's "nenkin" booklet with us, so we weren't able to apply for the "gift" money, but we are working on that now. "

Is there anyone who can confirm this? It is the first time I have heard that proof of pension payments must also be shown.

By Admin on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 10:38 am:

National Health Insurance
RE: Birth "gift" money

The Japanese term for this is "shusan ikuji ichijiken" which literally translated might sound something like "delivery child one time money". You have two years to claim this money. You are entitled to this money if you were a participant in the Japan National Health Insurance system at the time you gave birth or miscarried. The amount of the gift money varies slightly depending on how you are enrolled within National Health Insurance. (Through your or your spouse's company or directly with the city hall as "self-employed") In some cases (and sometimes only in some years) there might be a small bit extra put in "the pot" by the local government too.

By lou on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - 7:37 pm:

Hello, does anyone have up to date information on full birth/hospital costs for Seibo and St Luke's Hospitals?

By Alex on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 11:26 am:

hi, my wife and I are wanting to go back to australia for our childs birth.

can we still receive the "gift money" when we come back. (or at least if I come back within the 14 days with the birthcertificate + NHI card) and my wife follows later?

By Janine Boyd on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 9:37 pm:

Which country to have the baby??Alex, I understand your dilema all too well.

I have had 4 babies.
2 in Australia (before any government baby bonuses were available) and 2 here in Japan.

I cant really comment on the postnatal hospital care in either place as I checked out the same or next day each time(my choice as I much prefer to sleep/recover in my own bed)The prenatal care in both countries was top rate though, if not better in Japan.

Since July 2004, Australian residents can receive $4000, soon to increase to $5000
(government incentive to boost the birth rate)AND public hospital care is free for medicare card holders.
This is not applicable to non residents, however.

For you to go home just for delivery may mean missing several weeks work in order to meet medical clearance to fly. Another cost consideration.(Personally I wouldnt take the risk after 35 weeks if its your first baby. You dont want the qantas steward to deliver anything more than your coffee!)

No, as far as I know the Japanese gift money is not available for babies born overseas, it is meant to compensate your hospital stay in Japan which is not free. The gift covers a standard stay in a standard hospital. I have never heard anything about a fourteen day clause. If you find out any more contrary to this please post it here for everyone to see.

All the best for the big event

By Moemi & Ririka on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 10:29 pm:


I'm from the Philippines and my husband is Japanese. We have 2 babies. One born in Japan (2004) and the other in the Philippines (2005). Both got the birth "gift" money.


By Jack Bayles on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 10:30 pm:

we had both our kids in Australia and
upon returning to Japan had no
problem with local city hall paying the
baby gift money

By Alex on Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 4:46 pm:

thanks for your responses.

We are going back to australia for our childs birth.

Jack and moemi&rirka I`m interested in your experiences.

I`ve paid a bucket load of cash for NHI and my wife and I have never been sick in the 4 years that we have been here. so we would like to get something for all the payments.



By Janine Boyd on Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 10:35 pm:

I have found a link to the maternity payment for Australians. The payment is actually $3042 not $4000 as I posted above but the newspapers have been suggesting this will go up. The document also points out that this payment is only for residents, so I doubt you could get it unless you officially moved home.

From what others above have said it seems you can get the gift money if you are back in Japan soon enough.
Hmm. I have 4 kids, maybe I should try for one more. This is looking lucrative! Only joking. Actually I have a twin stroller to sell. I will be posting on this site tomorrow. So stay tuned mothers (and fathers) of many!

By Patrycja Thoule on Wednesday, February 2, 2005 - 12:50 pm:


The cost of delivery at Seibo is between 460,000 and 560,000 yen and it depends on the room you are staying in.
I delivered there 6 weeks ago and paid 551,000yen for a 4day stay (went home a day earlier) in a private room with toilet.
Hope it helps.

By Estelle on Wednesday, February 2, 2005 - 7:41 pm:


I worked until last December under Japanese National Health Insurance, but now I have stopped and i will give birth in April, in Japan. Does somebody know if i will have the birth "gift" money?
Thank you

By Caitlin on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 7:49 am:

Hi, I'd like to know the cost of giving birth at St. Luke's International Hospital for Normal and CS.
Thanks. Caitlin

By Janine Parker on Wednesday, July 27, 2005 - 11:53 am:


I had my son at Aiiku hospital in Hiro which was excellent. I had a c-section (after trying to have him naturally for about 30 hours elsewhere). My husband was allowed to be present at the birth. My son and I stayed from Saturday to Friday and it cost 650,000 yen. I was in a group room which is cheaper but it is very private. Also there is a beautiful garden next to the hospital which was the first place we went to when I left the hospital.

If you are interested in a natural birth in a very comfortable, non-hospital environment where the staff use aromatherapy and massage and the midwives are very experienced, I recommend Aqua Birth House. We were there for 24 hours and it cost 24,000 yen.

Aqua-birth House
Yamamura-sensei, head midwife
4-16-21 Sakuragaoka, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, tel: (03) 3427-1314


By Emma on Saturday, August 6, 2005 - 9:46 pm:

Does anyone know if there are any water birth clinics available in Chiba or Tokyo other then the aqua birth house as it is too far from me??

Please help!!

By Christopher Scott on Friday, September 23, 2005 - 12:36 am:

I was wondering if anyone ever had any luck with private health care to help cover pregnancy and childbirthing costs? My wife and I are moving to Japan and if we're not pregnant now, hope to be soon....

By Bethan Hutton on Friday, September 23, 2005 - 9:57 am:

Some of the expat health care plans offer maternity cover (eg Bupa from the UK), often as an optional extra (with extra premiums). The one we had covered normal childbirth but only up to a maximum amount, which was only about half what the actual birth cost (we were at St Lukes, which is expensive, though - it might cover more at other hospitals). I don't think it covered maternity check ups, but it would pay out for any complications, medically necessary c-sections etc.

You may need to shop around or ask a broker for some quotes.

By Jayne Mizuguchi on Friday, September 23, 2005 - 10:33 am:

Hi Chris,
I live in Yokohama and my husband and I are hoping to be pregnany later on this year! I'm with William Russell global health care which covers 80% of all maternity costs minus the excess. You have to have been insured with them for a year (Hence the "later on this year" above) before they will cover non emergency maternity costs so if you were not pregnant yet, took out cover today and waited 4 months before trying again you would be covered for the birth. It also covers the baby for the 1st 28 days of his/her life after which time you have to take out a separate policy. Emergency treatment is covered from the day the policy starts. If you're going to be in the Tokyo area would be nice to keep in touch to "compare notes".

By Christopher Scott on Friday, September 23, 2005 - 2:03 pm:

Thanks for the replies; I've started the shopping process and am waiting for some info.
(As if packing our life's possessions, selling our car, taking qualifying exams and securing a place to live in Japan weren't enough.... ;-))

In the meantime, if anyone else has found a particularly good plan I'd love to hear about it. Also, it seems unclear from what I've read whether we will be required to join the KKH plan regardless of whether we're covered by a private plan -- anyone get away with having children without joining?

Thanks in advance!

Chris and Hanako

By Von Nguyen on Friday, September 23, 2005 - 6:14 pm:

Dear All,
I am so excited to have found this forum! I am Canadian, married to a Japanese national and we are about 3 months along.

I have to say that the whole prenatal care process here has been impressive. I went for check-ups from week 6 to week 10 at the Ginza Women's Clinic. One of the doctors actually studied in the U.S. and therefore speaks English. At this clinic, for a transvaginal u/s, the cost was about 3-4,000 Yen and 8,000 Yen for blood tests.

Since I live in Chuo-ku, they suggested that I go to Saint Luke's. I was planning on it anyway since I can walk there in 10 minutes. The doctor gave me a recommendation letter and forwarded my medical file along with it.

I had my first visit on 9/22/05. This hospital complex is so large that I had no idea where I was going. I finally managed to get to the registration area and everything went quite smoothly except for
the wait to see my doctor. Since this was my first visit, I was not allowed to make an appointment and therefore had to wait about 3 hours! Do note that you are able to book all subsequent visits depending on the Dr.'s availability.

The doctor was very happy to see an English speaking patient and this made me feel very at ease to deal with him. I had a transvaginal u/s again (I have about 6 now and I'm only 12 weeks along!) I am a bit curious as this is my first pregnancy.
The doctor asked me various questions, booked my next appointment, and sent me on my way to a lady (I'm not sure what to call her.) This lady explained the hospital's regulations and costs.....

Kaitlin - I think you've asked for Saint Luke's hospital charges so here it is! Sorry I don't have the C-Section info though.

A Type Rooms, 32 rooms (15 squared metres/161 square feet)
All rooms are equipted with a shower, toilet, fridge, TV and video and telephone.
6 days 800,000 Yen
7 days 860,000 Yen

B Type Rooms, 1 room (30 squared metres/322 squared feet)
Since there is only one room, it is subject to availability.
6 days 1,040,000 Yen
7 days 1,140,000 Yen

I wonder if the A type room is full that you'd get it stay in the larger room for the same price :-)

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that the cost of the initial visit was 6,000 Yen. I'll keep you posted with costs of my future visits!

Bye for now, Von

By Gamze Abramov on Thursday, December 1, 2005 - 6:37 pm:

Today i visited Aiku but I still have a few questions that I was hoping someone who has given birth there can answer.

1. In the price list they had something called a delivery assistance fee where they mention 'protection of perenium'. I was wondering what this meant.
2. I want to have an active birth where I can move into different positions and also use a shower for help with pain (actually I want a water birth but my options in Tokyo are limited!!!). Does Aiku allow patients to move around or do they prefer you to be on your back? Also are they scissor happy and perform episiotomies as a matter of course?
3. If they perform c-sections, do they always do a horizontal cut, or do they decide?

I actually went to visit Ikuryo Clinic the day before as I wanted to have a water birth, but also have doctors present (as opposed to just midwives). I wasn't overly impressed with the facilities, though i could overlook room size etc. However I was shocked to hear that if they do c-sections, they will do a horizontal or vertical cut depending on the position of the baby. I don't know much about this topic, but I don't think vertical incisions are performed in many parts of the world at all! This has made me question whether I want to go to this clinic.

I just wish hospitals like Aiku offered options like water birth. Considering they promote natural drug-free birth it would be a great feature. It is said that women who birth in water cope with pain better and tear less often or less severely (this is particularly attractive to me as my sister had a 3rd degree tear and it scares me more than any other aspect).

Unfortunately another consideration for me is cost. It seems the hospitals most often recommended to foreigners are really expensive, especially if you want a private room.

The way I look at it, if I'm going to have a regular hospital birth (as opposed to a water birth)it doesn't really matter to me what hospital i go to, as long as they have all the modern technology, clean and have some English-speaking staff.

Can anyone recommend cheaper hospitals which fit this criteria? Where do Japanese women give birth that doesn't require an 800,000 plus payment?

Choosing a place to deliver is really beginning to stress me out so any advice/help would be much appreciated.

By the way, I live near Yutenji Station and would prefer not to have to travel really far.

By A.Roy on Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - 2:47 pm:

Hi, does anyone have up to date information on full birth/hospital costs for Sanno hospital? Thanks

By Akiko Kuramoto on Friday, March 17, 2006 - 3:41 pm:

I am 6 months pregnant and thinking about changing my obgyn to Dr. Sakamoto.
Does anyone have up to date info on costs for giving birth with Dr. Sakamoto--prenatal visits at Tokyo Medical and Surgical Clinic--and birth/hospital costs at Seibo, Aiiku, or Sanno hospital?

By Catherine Wan on Friday, March 17, 2006 - 5:01 pm:

Hi Akiko,
I recently gave birth with Dr. Sakamoto at Aiiku. The prenatal visits ranged between about 10,000 to 20,000 yen depending on what tests etc you undertook. The birth itself was expensive. Dr. Sakamoto's minimum is around 300,000. I paid 350,000 (I think it was because I needed forceps delivery). Pain relief by epidural or other injection is extra (don't know how much). Aiiku's basic hospital stay is around the 500,000 mark, but that's without a private room. Private rooms are about 20,000 per night, depending on how luxurious you want it! I stayed in a non - private room for the first night as there were no private rooms available. Although the non- private rooms are sectioned off, so you have 'visual privacy'and are only 2 or 4 to a room, I hated it as you don't have the freedom to play music/ watch TV etc and if your baby screams the whole first night like mine did, you may be conscious of keeping all the others awake! They moved me to a private room the next day and it made a huge difference. Other extras included: 10,000 if you want an extra large delivery room and another 10,000 if you want someone to attend your birth with you. All in all, the hospital bill came to around 600,000.
Having said that, based on what I experienced, I would recommend both Dr. Sakamoto and Aiiku; I felt very well looked after the whole time.
Good luck,

By Akiko Kuramoto on Friday, March 17, 2006 - 8:46 pm:

Hi Catherine,
Thank you so much for your helpful response!
I am currently going to Tanaka Women`s Clinic (also known for their epidurals and maternitibics). Am looking to switch to a new Dr that speaks English.
Looks like the birth/hospital fees are around the same. Prenatal visits here are quite costly--comes out to 20,000 to 30,000 each visit and have been going every 2 weeks...and in my last month I will be going every week. Seems in Japan, after 26 weeks, prenatal visits are every 2 weeks (although in my case, I have been going every 2 weeks since my first month of pregnancy). I had my first baby in the U.S. and remember going for prenatal visits once a month (atleast till I was close to giving birth). Are Dr. Sakamoto`s prenatal visits also every 2 weeks throughout the entire pregnancy? Been having some difficulty, as I need to bring my son along to every visit.

By Catherine Wan on Friday, March 17, 2006 - 10:01 pm:

If I remember correctly, you only need to visit him once a month until quite near the end of the pregnancy (around 30 something weeks I think.) Then after that, it's every 2 weeks.

By sonousek on Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 4:24 pm:

i recently gave birth with dr. sakamoto in aiiku. i highly recommend aiiku, but dr. sakamoto even he is very professional and seems to be a competent doctor, i don't like so much his "attitude" - he is very busy and i was quite surprised when he came to my delivery saying ok we have two hours in front of us because in two hours i have to be somewhere else...
anyway, if you choose him, you see him every two weeks after around 32nd week (if i remember well) and every week in the end of the pregnancy. you don't have to make the NST (non stress test) which you are recommended to do in aiiku (if you would be with a japanese doctor there) - it takes almost two hours each time. actually, i gave birth there also with a japanese doctor, and for my second delivery i took dr. sakamoto.
don't hesitate if you have more questions.

By Akiko Kuramoto on Saturday, March 18, 2006 - 10:58 pm:

Thank you both for your helpful responses. I made an appointment to meet Dr. Sakamoto to get acquainted and to see if I like him.
By the way, what is this NST? I`ve never heard of it...what do you do for 2 hours and when is this done? You also mentioned that EACH time, it took 2 hours. How many times do you have to take this test? Is this test specific to Aiiku or to all Japanese doctors?

By sonousek on Sunday, March 19, 2006 - 2:15 pm:

hi Akiko,
NST is a "non stress test" and it's specific to aiiku, or to all japanese doctors, i don't know because my experience is only from aiiku. anyway, the NST is conducted every week of the last month of the pregnancy and it checks the heartbeat of your baby. your are lying on a comfortable chair and they put you a kind of sondes on the belly and check about 2 hours, when your baby kicks you, you push the button they gave you this they can see if your baby is in good shape. i did it for my first baby and did not for my second. i think dr. sakamoto don't send his clients to do the NST but if you ask in aiiku (on the reception desk) the list of all tests conducted there, you will see the details. in case you would like to do it, i am sure dr. sakamoto will explain you and advise you whether is it useful for you. by the way, as for the prices at aiiku, you can have the price list on the reception desk too.

By koko on Sunday, March 19, 2006 - 8:06 pm:

Can anyone please suggest some good hospital and a doctor to consult somewhere around Tamachi(tokyo) who can speak ENGLISH well,for my friend who's having her first baby.
Your kindness would be appreciated.

By Elisa on Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 11:59 am:

Can anyone suggest a good ob/gyn at Seibo Hospital? I am 5 month pregnant and would like to have epidural.
I am currently with Dr. Sakamoto, he is great but a bit expensive so I was thinking to switch. Any suggestion? Language is not a problem.

By Sarah Yasuhara on Sunday, March 26, 2006 - 10:25 am:

I'm really interested to hear people's reply to Elisa's question above. I have just checked the names of the Ob/Gyns currently working at Seibo and they are:
Yamauchi Jyun
Yamuchi Miwa(f)
(The (f) means female.)
If anyone has something to say, either positive or negative, about any of the Drs mentioned above, we would really appreciate it!

By Leilani Marie Affatica on Tuesday, March 28, 2006 - 11:15 am:

anyone know of any good hospitols in the Saitama area??

By A.Roy on Monday, June 5, 2006 - 6:53 pm:

Could anybody let me know if any kind of assisted techniques like IVF,IUI etc are covered by the japanese health insurance? Thanks

By Elisa on Thursday, June 8, 2006 - 4:13 pm:


I don't really think they are covered. Also pregnancy is not covered so I don't see how they would cover for IVF!

By VB on Thursday, May 24, 2007 - 6:28 pm:


Have jus discovered i m 9 weeks Pregnant :-) ( thanks to the morning sickness which last thruout the day!!)

Can anyone tell me wots the process to register at city/ ward office plzz. Do i need a certificate from the clinic confirming my pregnancy or how does one go about it??

Thanks & Regards

By Swapnali on Monday, May 28, 2007 - 8:53 pm:

You need to go to city office and tell them that you are expecting a baby. You will need to tell the expected delivery date. Thats all. They dont need any certificate. You need to show your health insurance card.

From city office you can get 2 coupens for 2 free checkups. One for checkup before 20 weeks and another after 20 weeks.

By Cornelia on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 - 11:06 am:

I had to show proof of pregnancy from a doctor (that was in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo). They didn't want to issue my the Boshi Techo (Mother Child book) unless I had confirmation from a doctor that I was pregnant. That was in 1996. Maybe now it is different or maybe different cities have different policies.

By Admin on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - 9:12 am:

Regarding the gift money (shussan ikuji ichijikin), it is possible to collect 80% of it in advance (one month before the baby is due). In order to do this you must fill out a form well in advance, at least two months before the baby is due. It is called Shus-san-hi Kashitsuke-kin.

The gift is offered to all holders of NHI, whether it is Shakaihoken (through the employer) or Kokomin Hoken (directly from the ward office). Currently the base payment is Y350,000. For more information on the organization of the Japanese NHI system, please look at the related discussion at:

By Tongling on Friday, June 20, 2008 - 1:48 pm:

Hi, I just moved to Japan and 26 weeks pregnant. My husband and I are both covered through CIGNA expat insurance.I'm covered as a dependent. Under this policy Maternity expense is treated the same as any other condition for employee and eligible dependents. Anyone has experience with this insurance programme? I'm seeing Dr.Miyazaki and have registered to deliver in Aiiku hospital. Will Aiiku accept this insurance? Many thanks! And I would like to meet expectant mothers in Tokyo. I'm truely "brand new" here and dont know anyone.

By Seaoftears on Friday, November 1, 2013 - 11:54 pm:

Just a quick question, have not seen this one asked.
What if you are pregnant, and dont make enough money for the birthing expense? Is there something you can apply for? What if you are on welfare?
I was on NHI and then my husband got sick and now we are on welfare and wanting a baby because we both have some health issues and are getting older and dont want to wait or something else happens....any answer would be greatly appreciated...

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