Feb 23, 2019

Annual health check

When you work full-time for a Japanese company your company is obliged to pay for a health check for you once a year. This health check is called Kenko Shindan in Japanese.

The purpose is to assess your current status and to find about (possible) diseases early so that they can be dealt with before they become real issues. In some a cases a similar health check is requested by new employees when they join a company.

The check usually comprises checking your height, weight and blood pressure, a blood test, a urine test, a hearing test, an eyesight test and x-ray scans. It usually is conducted at a big hospital designated by your company. Most hospitals also offer further tests that are not covered with the general health test that can be requested depending on your individual situation but have to be paid out of your own pocket. If you choose no optional tests the whole health check is completely free for you.

On the day prior to your health check you are usually not allowed to drink alcohol. On the day of the check you are usually not allowed to eat until after your check is finished and some places even forbid drinking water. Once you arrive at the hospital you will change into hospital clothing and receive a number. There are several stations for the different test and your number we will be called for each. Once you’re done you can go back to the waiting room and wait for your next test. The hospitals are used to these procedures so it is pretty quick most of the time. You should be done in about 1 or 2 hours with the mandatory tests. Once everything is done you can go home or back to work depending on when you took the health check.

After about a month you will receive your results. There are different categories that your body is divided into and each will be assigned a score from A to E. A is perfect health and E needs to be checked by a specialist as soon as possible. There are also details that tell you why you got which score.

Annual health check photo

This was my score last year. I got a C because of my weight being too low.

If there is something serious you should consult a doctor for further diagnosis soon, otherwise you can show the results to your regular doctor the next time you go there. It is also recommend keeping the results so you can compare your status over the last few years. If you got to the same hospital they will usually send you a print with your previous results next the newest ones every year, so you’re fine, but if you change jobs and have to go a different hospital that won’t be possible. 

Have you done a health check in Japan and what do you think about this system?



Hi, I’m Eli. I’m from Germany and moved to Japan a few years ago. I am a typical nerd and like collecting Pokémon merchandise.Follow me on twitter (@hannari_eri) for the latest nerd News from Tokyo. I also write a blog in German over here. https://lifeinjapanisstrange.wordpress.com/