To New PhD Students

This is to inform you of what to expect in Okinawa regarding health matters and to give you some general tips. If you have any chronic diseases or you are seeing a medical professional for health problems, please bring a referral letter and your current prescription, and at least one-month supply of your current medication.


●If there is any medication you may need to take, we recommend you to bring some with you.

●If the amount of medication which you are going to bring with you/mail to Japan exceeds one-month supply, you should prepare a document called ‘Yakkan shomei’ in advance. We recommend you to apply for Yakkan shomei immediately as the process of receiving it from Japan takes at least 2 weeks. Please refer the link below for further information on Yakkan shomei.

●Please note that regulations of OTC (over-the-counter) medicine can differ depending on a country. You need a prescription by a Japanese physician to get some medicine (antibiotics, strong painkillers…etc). Although you may see some OTC medicine in Japan which are same as what you find in your country, please note that the dosage could be different.

●Please note that a prescription and a consultation with a gynecologist would be required to get birth control pill in Japan. Health insurance does not cover this.

●Some of the non-prescribed (OTC medications) in other countries can be illegal in Japan. Specifically, products that contain stimulants (medicines that contain Pseudoephedrine, such as Actifed, Sudafed, and Vicks inhalers), or Codeine (can be found in painkillers, cough medicine, cold medicine…etc) are prohibited if it contains more than allowed quantity of stimulant raw materials. If you are considering about bringing those medicines, please ask your medical professional if you can get any substitute in Japan or please contact OIST Health Center prior to your departure.


●There is no vaccination that is legally required to enter the country, but it is desirable to complete the recommended vaccination in Japan in advance. In addition, it is strongly recommended that you confirm the vaccination history in advance, complete the designated form and submit it after entering the school. Please contact the OIST Health Center if you wish to receive vaccinations after entering school.

【Health Checkup】

●In Japan, students are legally required to take annual health checkup. All new OIST PhD students are requested to attend the closest scheduled group health checkup on campus from their arrival. Also as they have possibility of using lasers as part of their PhD program, there will be a group laser safety eye checkup on campus. Please note that the annual health checkup and the laser safety eye checkup are mandatory. We will inform you further information after your arrival.

【Special Health Screening】

●If you are planning to regulary use hazardous materials/ engage in hazardous works, such as organic solvents, specified chemical substances, ionizing radiation, lead, lasers, acidic chemicals, submergence, etc as part of your research at OIST, you will be required to take special health screening. Please check with your supervisor if you have any relevant works, and if applicable, please notify the OIST Health Center through your supervisor.

【Other considerations】

●The closest drug store and local medical facility are about 10 minutes by a car from campus.

●Currently there are no medical facilities with English speaking staff which you can take free STI (sexually transmitted infections) checkups around OIST. You can take STI checkups at a local clinic/hospital and each items cost about few thousands yen plus a consultation fee. Health insurance does not cover them without any STI symptoms.

●Please check OIST Health Center’s website for more information.

Please keep yourself in good condition prior to your brand new start in Okinawa. We are looking forward to seeing you soon.


OIST Health Center :         +81-(0)98-966-8945