Medicine and Health Care in Japan with the Royal Society of Medicine

6 - 18 Mar 2021
  • Medical & Professional Tours

About the tour

Japan is a quixotic blend of stylised ritual, gracious tradition and hyper modernity. It is unique in its food, culture, dress and ceremonies, and its singular history means that it has had to adjust to the impact of one of modern technology's most cataclysmic inventions - the effects of which still resonate today.

This uniquely curated tour provides deep insight into Japan’s medicine, healthcare and culture, with two specialist tour leaders. Experience different facets of this exceptional country, with a wide range of professional visits. An examination of healthcare also gives excellent insight into society, such as Japanese longevity as a result of diet and lifestyle, and elderly health initiatives. Participants will learn about the very different challenges faced by the extremely urban sections of Japanese society and those in remote rural areas, as well as about medical education and training.

Following visits to Tokyo and Matsumoto in the Japanese Alps, the tour provides two options mid-itinerary; Fukuoka and Nagasaki in Kyushu with Dr Clare Hurle, an itinerary incorporating medical visits, or to Naoshima Island and Kurashiki for a more ‘art and culture’ focus with Janice Liverseidge.

Both itineraries reconnect in Hiroshima and continue to Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto. There is an optional post-tour extension to the ancient capital of Nara to visit one of Japan’s most imposing castles.

Partners are very welcome.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, Janice Liverseidge and Dr Clare Hurle

Janice Liverseidge and Dr Clare Hurle

This uniquely curated tour provides deep insight into Japan’s medicine, healthcare and culture, with two specialist tour leaders:

Until recently Janice Liverseidge was a Director at The Royal Society of Medicine and is now a full time guide and in her spare time a trustee of both the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund and the London Handel Festival. Earlier in her career she worked for the British Medical Association. She is also a registered Blue Badge tourist guide and regularly leads groups in London on medical history walks, tours of the Wellcome Collection and other healthcare locations plus provides music and art tours for the Foundling Museum and the London Handel Festival. Janice has travelled extensively, including an eight month journey around India, South East Asia and Australia, and has led highly successful RSM tours to Vietnam and Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Cuba, South Africa and China.

Dr Clare Hurle lived in Japan for around six years and speaks Japanese. Her first career was in business with McKinsey & Co. in both London and Japan, and then as a national brand manager for Nestle Japan. Her first day with Nestle in 1995 was also the day of the Great Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, during which the company’s office was one of many buildings to collapse.

She graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in Natural Sciences and then the Wharton School, Philadelphia, USA with an MBA. Subsequently, she re-trained in medicine at Imperial College, London and also completed her General Practice training in London with distinction in her MRCGP.

Aside from her day to day work as a GP, her two key interests are medical education and the development of primary care in Japan. She continues to visit Japan regularly, and has led GP courses in Tokyo for the RCGP (International "Training the Trainers") and in Fukushima on the management of depression in primary care. Dr Hurle is a GP partner and trainer at Cross Deep Surgery in Twickenham, where she has worked for over a decade.

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Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1: Tokyo (Sat, 6 March) Arrive in Tokyo, a vast city encompassing a multitude of distinctive personalities, and transfer to the hotel before dinner with the group.
  • Day 2: Tokyo (Sun, 7 March) Experience the history of this modern metropolis, starting with a visit to the fascinating Tokyo-Edo Museum, which preserves the 400-year history of Tokyo and its precursor, Edo. Visit the fashionable Harajuku area and see the intricate woodblock prints at the Woodblock Print Museum. Continue to the Nezu Museum, home to a diverse collection of Japanese and Asian pre-modern art, as well as an exquisite garden. Enjoy a welcome dinner
  • Day 3: Tokyo (Mon, 8 March) Wander through the historic Asakusa neighbourhood and visit the ancient Buddhist Senso-ji Temple. Visit Jikei University School of Medicine. The school was founded by Kanehiro Takaki, who studied at St Thomas’ Hospital in London and brought the humanistic ideals of English medicine to Japan. Take a tour of the hospital and learn about its history and its current work. Afterwards continue to the upmarket Ginza district to explore.
  • Day 4: Tokyo / Matsumoto (Tues, 9 March) Take the train to Chino, a small town 800 metres above sea level.Have lunch at Suwa Central Hospital and learn about GP education and their healthy food initiative. Continue to Matsumoto, situated in a fertile valley below the Northern Japan Alps, and check into the hotel.
  • Day 5: Matsumoto (Wed, 10 March) Learn from the Nagano Clinic team on their work on health promotion and longevity initiatives.Matsumoto dates back to the 8th century. Visit Matsumoto-jō, or Matsumoto Castle, Japan's oldest wooden castle and one of just four castles designated National Treasures of Japan. The striking black-and-white three-turreted donjon (main keep) earned the nickname Karasu-jō (Crow Castle). A short walk from the castle is Nakamachi Street in an Edo era merchant district, with well-preserved warehouses and old buildings. Continue across the river to Frog Street, a pedestrian-only lane of shops and cafes housed in small, traditional-style buildings.

Option A

  • Day 6: Matsumoto / Fukuoka (Thur, 11 March) Take the train via Nagoya and Okayama to Fukuoka, a spectacular journey down the spine of Japan at the start of the cherry blossom season. Arrive early evening and settle into your hotel at leisure
  • Day 7: Fukuoka (Fri, 12 March) Take a scenic journey into rural Japan to Hofu. Visit a local clinic to learn about primary health care provision in a rural area.Continue to riverside Kurume, a former castle town surrounded by mountains. Visit the Kurume Medical Centre, which is affiliated with the Kurume University School of Medicine, founded to provide advanced medical service, research and education.
  • Day 8: Fukuoka / Nagasaki / Fukuoka (Sat, 13 March) Take the train to Nagasaki. Learn about the role of Scottish-born trader, Thomas Blake Glover, who helped shape modern Japan and who was the first foreigner ever decorated by the Japanese government. Visit Glover Garden, an open-air museum that exhibits mansions of several of the city’s former foreign residents. Visit Dejima (the historic Dutch trading post in Nagasaki. Explore Nagasaki before returning to Fukuoka by train.
  • Day 9: Fukuoka / Hiroshima (Sun, 14 March) Take the train to Hiroshima. This city has a cataclysmic past that is today a powerful symbol for world peace. Visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum with its many poignant exhibits. Continue to your hotel.

Option B

  • Day 6: Matsumoto / Okayama (Thur, 11 March) Take the train via Nagoya to Okayama and check into the hotel. Dinner at a local restaurant
  • Day 7: Okayama (Fri, 12 March) Travel to Naoshima Island (known as ‘Art Island’) on the Inland Sea. Visit the Chichu Art Museum and the Benesse House Museum.
  • Day 8: Okayama / Inland Sea (Sat, 13 March) Travel to Kurashiki and explore the town’s attractive and historic riverside area, the old merchant’s quarter and the pharmacy museum. Option to visit the Ohara Museum of Art. Visit the Korakuen Gardens.
  • Day 9: Okayama / Hiroshima (Sun, 14 March) Take the train to Hiroshima. This city has a cataclysmic past that is today a powerful symbol for world peace. Visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum with its many poignant exhibits. Continue to your hotel.

Tour reconnects

  • Day 10: Hiroshima / Kobe (Mon, 15 March) Visit the Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine to learn about the clinical radiation effect of the atomic bomb used in Hiroshima and the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima. Take the train to Kobe and check into your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Optional Kobe Beef dinner.
  • Day 11: Kobe / Kyoto / Kobe (Tue, 16 March) Take the train to Kyoto, Japan’s capital of high culture. Kyoto was the imperial capital between 794 and 1868 and with its hundreds of temples and gardens it remains the cultural centre of Japan. Visit the shimmering medieval Golden Pavilion, with its sensuously contoured temple roofs and Shinto shrines, and take a walking tour through its raked pebble gardens. Visit beautiful sixteenth-century Nijo Castle, with its moat, massive stone walls and elaborate gates. It also contains stunning gardens, exquisite decorative detail and a rich collection of art. Continue onto the food and craft markets of old Kyoto by foot. Visit Fushimi Inari, dedicated to the Shinto god of rice and famous for its thousands of vermillion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails, and take part in a walk.
  • Day 12: Kobe / Osaka / Kobe (Wed, 17 March) Take the train to Osaka and explore the vibrant Namba area on a culinary tour. Return to Kobe. Visit the fascinating Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum and learn how Japan deals so effectively with tectonic activity. Farewell dinner
  • Day 13: Kobe (Thur, 18 March) Depart for airport or extend to Nara.

Nara extension

  • Day 13: Kobe / Nara / Kobe (Thur, 18 March) Visit Nara, the first capital of Japan. Visit Kōfuku-ji Temple, one of the powerful Seven Great Temples, with a hall with nine golden Buddhas. Explore the gardens and attractive parkland with many ancient temples. Return to Kobe
  • Day 14: Kobe (Fri, 19 March)  Depart for airport

Tour cost

The cost of the tour is US $5,626 per person sharing.

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