7 Easy Steps on How to Become A Medical Doctor in Japan

Are you on the journey of becoming or do you want to become a medical doctor in Japan by studying medicine in one of the best Japanese medical schools? Do you want to find out what the odds are of studying in Japanese medical schools?

Being a doctor is a noble task and one of the most rewarding professions in the world. And deciding to study in Japan is a great thought as well.

Japan is one of the most popular East Asian isle countries located in the northwest Pacific Ocean.  The Sea of Japan adjoins it on the west and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south.

Japan is one of those Asian countries that attract international students due to the availability of great schools and programs such as medicine. However, becoming a doctor is not an easy venture for want of the requirements and procedures involved in it.

In this article, we have compiled the right steps you can take on how to become a medical doctor in Japan. These steps are straightforward. You would need little or no assistance at all if you follow our guide.

Also, we have made available the basic requirements you need to apply to med schools in Japan. What this means is that at the end of this article all your questions about going to study in Japan will be answered.

If this is what you hope to find, allow me to lead you on this few-minute journey that gives you top-notch information on how to become and practice medicine in Japan.

Welcome aboard Scholar!!! 

Read Also: Japan Scholarships

How to Become A Medical Doctor in Japan in Japanese med schools

Is Japan Good To Study Medicine?

If you’re looking to study medicine in Japan you have just made a very sound decision. Japanese medical schools have a track record of distinction and a high profile in training medical doctors.

Becoming a medical doctor is very interesting and scholarly because prospective medical doctors learn to use top-of-the-range facilities in outstanding laboratories and research institutions.

In Japanese medical schools, you can earn an M.D. degree or a PhD in medicine. Aside from a good academic experience, Japan is a top tourist country with a lot of culture and art.

You’re sure going to have a good time studying in Japan as you journey to become a medical doctor.

How Much Does It Cost To Study MBBS in Japan?

Without a doubt, studying medicine is expensive when you compare it to other study programs. And studying medicine in Japan is no exception.

However, the cost of MBBS in Japan is quite low when compared to high profile countries such as the USA and UK. For the students willing to pursue MBBS in Japan, the average cost will be around 535,800 YEN (INR 3,50,000). 

But you will need an extra fee for course application, examination, and accommodation which could cost about 90,000- 1,50,000 YEN (INR 60,000- 1,00,000).

List of Top 10 Best Schools to Become a Medical Doctor in Japan

If you’re looking at studying in the best Japanese medical schools, here are the best 10 schools you can trust to train you to study to become a medical doctor in Japan;

  • Nagoya University
  • Chiba University.
  • Tohoku University
  • Kyushu University
  • Keio University
  • Waseda University
  • Kyoto University
  • University of Tsukuba
  • Tokyo Medical University
  • Tokyo Medical and Dental University

Read Also: Joint Japan World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program 2022

What Are the Admission Requirements to Apply to Become a Medical Doctor in Japan?

Requirements to study in Japan will differ based on the institution. Some institutions will have additional requirements based on your program of study.

Below is a list of basic standards that need to be fulfilled before you apply for MBBS admission in Japan: 

  • Age of applicants must be above 17 years.
  • You must have scored a minimum aggregate of 50% in class 12th.
  • You must have studied Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English as subjects in class 12th.
  • NEET is a compulsory exam for Indians.
  • Some universities may also require TOEFL/IELTS tests.
  • You must provide all the certificates such as mark sheets, school leaving certificates etc to authenticate your qualification while sending an application for admission.

How Do I Become a Medical Doctor in Japan?

Becoming a medical doctor in Japan requires you to have certain criteria as well as have the requirements we have listed above to make that a possibility.

Beyond the documents for application, specific skills and competencies are needed to ensure your application stands a chance for consideration when applying to medical schools in Japan.

Here are some of the steps to become a medical doctor in Japan;

#1. You must Know the Japanese Language.

One of the vital requirements to apply to become Japanese medical schools is to know the Japanese language.


Most Japanese medical schools’ major language instruction is Japanese. Therefore all international students aspiring to study medicine in Japan must learn the language.

We understand that for people who are not from Japan or Asia as a whole, learning any East Asian language will be very challenging.  However, if we compare Japanese to other languages in Asia such as Mandarin, it is a difficult language to master.

And the sad news is that it can take a long time to learn.

But you can learn uncomplicated tasks or instructions in Japan, becoming fluent enough in the language to learn or work as a medical doctor is a different story. Therefore, on your journey to become a medical doctor in Japan you will need to learn this language thoroughly.

The reason is that you will need it to study in Japanese as well as pass the medical examinations required for acquiring a medical license. 

#2. Study in Japanese Medical schools.

Once you have the language barrier figured out, next is to apply to Japanese medical schools. Studying medicine in Japanese medical schools is the most direct path on how to become a medical doctor in Japan.

Becoming a doctor in Japan usually takes 6 years if you’re studying in a Japanese medical school. In the first 2 years, medical students are committed to studying general courses. However, in the next 2 years, med students will start taking courses on applied medical sciences.  Years 5 and 6 are set aside for a clinical clerkship at a university hospital.

In the clinical internship, medical students will study an assortment of topics about their area of specialization. At the end of 6 years, you must have been trained in your field of expertise.

Read Also: Animation in Japan: 15 Animation Schools in Japan

#3. You Must Pass the Japan Medical Examination

On your journey to become a medical doctor in Japan you will need to pass the Japan medical examination.

Is that compulsory?

Absolutely, passing the Japan medical examination is very important.

To take the final medical license exams in Japan, you must have to apply for them first. But, you will only be allowed to apply if you meet all the requirements.  And keep in mind that only medical students who have been trained in a Japanese medical school can apply. 

You can also apply for the last licensing exam in Japan if you are a foreign medical student graduate from a program equivalent to those available in Japan (6+ years).

To apply based on the above reason, you must be licensed in the nation where you graduated or studied.

Kindly note that before you apply for a Japanese medical examination, you must know the Japanese language. The exam coordinators must evaluate your language skills before you can take the exam. 

Judging from the language assessment, you must at least have an N1 level to qualify for the exams. Although the N1 level is deemed barely competent enough to apply to medical school in Japan, you will need more than that to stand a better chance.

#4. You Must Complete a Residency Program.

Another step to take while becoming a medical doctor in Japan is to complete a residency program.

All prospective medical doctors in Japan must complete a  two-year residency program before working as regular doctors in Japan. This you have to do before commencing your clinic or finding a job in a hospital.

Also, you must do your residency in a university or a university-affiliated hospital. 

In these selected regions all prospective medical doctors in Japan can choose a course from an expansive area that interests them. This area is where they may choose to practice during their residency.

But just before you forge ahead, it’s of great importance that you know that medical students who want to do their residency outside Japan often find it intensely difficult.

The reason is that you will need connections with Japanese colleges as well as honourable letters of recommendation to have that happen in a flash.

Therefore, we often suggest you follow through with residency programs within Japan to become a medical doctor.

#5. Get Your Medical License .

To practice as a medical doctor in Japan after going to Japanese medical schools you will need to get your medical license. To get your license to practice medicine in Japan, you must pass the National Medical Practitioners Examination.

The National Medical Practitioners Examination is what decides whether or not you get a medical license to practice in Japan.  In fact, this license is a necessary devil. It’s a must-have on the list of how to become a medical doctor in Japan.

Knowing how important this license is, it’s also important to know that passing this exam is not easy at all, especially for international students. We don’t mean to scare you but, perfectly, you know what you are going to face.

Although it is not tougher than any other final medical exam, if you have the suitable language skills and technical knowledge it’s a whole lot easier.

Passing this exam is a pass into becoming a certified medical doctor in Japan. Once you are certified, you can become a certified medical doctor in Japan.

Read Also: How to Prepare for Medical Exam for Immigration and Get Approved

#6. Obtain a Work Visa

Yes, you will need a work visa to work as a medical doctor in Japan.  In Japan, Medical practitioners are usually protected by Japan’s regular Working Visa. 

Obtaining your work visa in Japan is usually straightforward. What you have to do is to visit a local Japanese consulate or embassy in your country and complete a Japanese visa application form. 

To apply for a Japanese work visa here is the admission requirements you need;

  • Passport
  • Recent photograph 
  • Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
  • Written letter from your company detailing your position and expected income.

Using these documents, getting your work visa is guaranteed. Once you have a work visa, you are almost set to become a medical doctor in Japan.

#7. Get a Job as a Medical Doctor

Once you have undergone the six processes above, you have all you need to become a medical doctor in Japan. But that will remain in the papers if you don’t get a job as a medical doctor.

Also, once you’ve received a medical license, you are free to open your practice or seek to work in a Japanese hospital. However, this must be after you must have satisfied the two-year mandatory residency requirement.

One area where you can focus on as a private practitioner in the field of psychiatry. Psychiatrists are very scarce in Japan. 

Opening a private practice in that field will not just guarantee your satisfaction to become a medical doctor in Japan, it will bring more finances to you.

However, if you want to work in a hospital, you can use any popular job-search platform on the internet. But note that you will have a hard time getting a job in Japanese hospitals if you’re applying online and have little or no experience in the medical field.

It would be a lot easier for you if you are well-connected or have someone that can recommend you. Once you have your path straightened out, your journey to becoming a medical doctor in Japan is now a reality.

Read Also: 11 Medical Schools with High Acceptance Rates

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Become a Medical Doctor in Japan

How Long Does It Take To Become A Medical Doctor in Japan?

Usually, Japanese medical education takes a total of 6 years to complete.

First two years for basic science courses, the second two years for applied medical courses, and the last two years for internship.

Can Foreigners Be Doctors in Japan?

Yes, if you’re a foreigner seeking to become a doctor in Japan, it is very possible.

Currently, Japanese hospitals have doctors from the U.S., the U.K., France, and Singapore practising.

Some Japanese medical licenses are under bilateral agreements with those nations. What this means is that they can only see patients of their nationality. They cannot treat Japanese unless they have a Japanese medical license just like we explained above.

Also Read: How to Get a Student Visa to Japan | The Ultimate Guide

How Can I Become A Doctor in Japan?

Actually, there are two major ways to become a medical doctor in Japan.

One is to finish medical school in Japan. The other one is to finish medical school elsewhere, and then take a Japanese medical exam in the Japanese language.

Can a Foreigner Study Medicine in Japan?

Absolutely!  International students have a slot to study medicine in Japan.

In fact, Japan is considered one of the most hospitable countries in the world for foreign visitors.

International students who wish to study medicine in Japanese medical schools can do so because there is no exception.

How Much Are Doctors Paid in Japan?

According to a 2019 survey, medical doctors employed at Japanese hospitals belonging to medical corporations in Japan earn about 16.4 million Japanese Yen in a year.


To become a medical doctor practising in Japan is possible for all, even for international students.

Following the steps, we listed above, your journey to becoming a medical doctor whether or not you attended Japanese medical schools is made easy.

We wish you luck!!!


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