Most prescribed drugs can be provided at a local pharmacy that is located next to or near the hospital in question, although you can have a prescription filled at any pharmacy of your choice. This also includes foreign prescriptions, but a Japanese doctor must review and approve the prescription before it can be dispensed. Medication is typically dispensed Monday to Friday between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. although some pharmacies are open earlier or close later. Saturday hours are usually shorter but opening and closing times depend on the pharmacy in question.
Pharmacists are capable of offering some suggestions with respect to the medications they dispense or what to take for a certain ailment, but with the vast majority of pharmacies not being English-speaking this can be a significant challenge.
Two expat-friendly pharmacies of note are the American Pharmacy (2-4-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku; Tel: 03-5220-7716) which is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday and holidays; and The Medical Dispensary (31 Mori Building, 3-4-30 Shiba Koen, Minato-ku; Tel: 03-3434-5817), which is located in the same building as Tokyo Medical and Surgical Clinic (http://www.tmsc.jp). Matsumoto Kiyoshi (http://www.matsukiyo.co.jp – in Japanese only) is a large Japanese chain of pharmacies that can be found scattered throughout the country, all of which operate Monday to Saturday during the majority of waking hours, and some operate on Sundays as well.