This post is adapted with thanks from the Nagano Prefectural Advisers website.
Nagano Hospitals, Clinics & Health Services
Whoever and wherever you are, there’s always a chance you might get sick and need to visit one of the local Nagano hospitals. Skiing and travelling adds to the risk of injury and every season there are a few unfortunate souls who need to visit a clinic or hospital. Being in an unfamiliar country that doesn’t speak your native language can make that experience all the more difficult.
What to do? Who to talk to?
If your injury has occurred on-mountain, the ski patrol will obviously be able to guide you and help organise medical assistance. Note: A local patrol will not provide you pain relief. So you might want to keep some paracetamol inside your jacket pocket as part of your regular kit.
If you’re staying in a hotel, your first contact should be the front desk, duty manager or English-language concierge at your hotel. You should describe your symptoms for referral to one of the local Nagano hospitals.
You can also try the local Tourist Information Center where you can receive a referral to a nearby medical institution. Some resort areas have English speakers standing by for such emergencies.
If none of the above works, try the Nagano Multi-Lingual Call Centre on 0120-691-792. This free service (from a domestic phone number), gives you instant access to the help of an interpreter around the clock. Simply call the centre, ask for an English interpreter (or Korean, Chinese, Indonesian, or Thai), and they will be able to help you with anything you might need.
You can also check your international travel medical insurance. If you have traveler’s insurance (and you better have!) the staff can contact the insurance company and refer you to one of the local Nagano hospitals.
What if there are none of these options?
Don’t worry! The Japan National Tourism Organization is here to help!
JNTO created an excellent, easy-to-use website with all the information you could want about hospitals all over Japan that can accommodate a number of languages!
On this site you can find a wide variety of information about hospitals in Japan: from what kind of institutions there are, to places that can speak certain languages. They even have a breakdown of symptoms and treatments for some common afflictions.
The table below shows a quick list of the hospitals around Nagano Prefecture that have English and/or other languages available.
Hokushin is the area closest to Madarao Kogen as well as Nozawa Onsen, Nagano City, and the Snow Monkeys/Shiga Kogen , whilst Chushin is the area for Hakuba and Matsumoto. Please note that Myoko Kogen is not part of Nagano Prefecture and different arrangements may need to be made. You can find out information on Joetsu Myoko hospitals here.
What if I can’t find anyone who speaks English?
Download this bilingual medical questionnaire. It can be used to help communicate your medical needs to hospital staff. Print out (or load on your device) and bring to any Nagano hospital or clinic.
English Speaking Hospitals in Nagano
For more information, or links to hospitals outside of Nagano, check out the JNTO website linked below!