Midwifery in Japan

16 - 28 Apr 2023
  • Medical & Professional Tours

About the tour

In the company of Dame Cathy Warwick, examine the history of midwifery in Japan as well as contemporary developments in both rural and urban areas. Experience the magnificent culture and history of Japan alongside its contemporary culture. Visit a midwifery birth centre and clinic, learn of the history of midwifery in Japan and midwifery education and visit Kameda Maternity and Ladies Clinic. Throughout the tour enjoy a delicious range of Japanese cuisine.

Gain real insight into midwifery in Japan at a beautiful time of year, at the end of the blossom season. For every face of Japan, there is another waiting to be seen, so that each visitor comes away with their own vision of this genuinely extraordinary land.

Partners are very welcome.


Midwives have always been revered in Japan. In ancient times, they were simply known as “the grannies who delivered life.” From the middle of the Edo period, about 250 years ago, they were known as granny midwives and were exempt from the edict prohibiting anyone from crossing the procession of a feudal lord and his vassals.

After the Meiji Period when Japan opened to the West, new systems of education, medicine, urban planning, etc., began to be imported from various Western countries, and granny midwives’ practices came under governmental regulation. Official training was introduced for the new ‘modern midwife’, who were considered vital messengers of public hygiene. Thus began the professionalisation of midwifery and its intermingling with nursing.

The first national association of midwives was established in 1927 and included both medical and granny midwives. Midwifery was considered a desirable, respectable, well-paid, female profession and was very popular among women entering the work force.


In 1955, 95% of births were attended by midwives at home. The switch from homebirth with midwives to hospital birth with doctors occurred relatively recently and within a matter of only a few years. By the end of 1965, 95% of births occurred in hospitals under the supervision of obstetricians. Despite the historical reverence for midwives and the relatively recent move to obstetric care, midwives have lost autonomy in past decades.

The title of “advanced midwife” was established more recently, in 2015 - these women do not work under physicians, but rather independently and in harmony with the doctors.

Download our brochure

Midwifery in Japan Book now

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, ​Professor Cathy Warwick CBE

​Professor Cathy Warwick CBE

Dame Cathy Warwick was Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives for 9 years and now works independently. Cathy is also Honorary Professor of Midwifery and an Honorary Professor of Midwifery at Kings College London. In 2006 she was awarded a CBE for services to Midwifery and Healthcare and in 2017 was made a Dame. Cathy lectures, writes and advises on midwifery issues with a particular interest in the organisation of care and the promotion of choice for women. Cathy has travelled widely both on her own and with her family, visiting midwifery units in America, Sri Lanka and South Africa. Professor Warwick has previously led successful midwifery study tours to China, India, South Africa, Nepal, Brazil, Cuba, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

Need more information?

  • Tel: (Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764
  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
Contact us

Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1: 16 April (Sun) Tokyo Arrive and transfer to the hotel.
  • Day 2: 17 April (Mon) Tokyo Visit the historic Asakusa neighbourhood and Senso-ji Temple. Visit St Lukes Hospital and learn of the history of midwifery in Japan and midwifery education. Transfer to Ginza to explore this upmarket district. Welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
  • Day 3: 18 April (Tues) Tokyo Visit to fashionable Harajuku and then visit the garden of the Nezu Museum.Visit a midwifery birth centre.
  • Day 4: 19 April (Wed) Tokyo / Kanazawa Bullet train across Japan to Kanazawa from Tokyo Station. Arrive and check into the hotel. Visit the Samurai Quarter, including the old pharmacy, the samurai house and garden, and the Kubani Kutaraki Pottery.
  • Day 5: 20 April (Thurs) Kanazawa Visit Kenrokuen Garden and the ruined castle. Visit the Kaga Yusen Silk Centre. Visit the geisha quarter (Higashichaya Old Town), Kaikaro Geisha House, a gold leaf house and museum.
  • Day 6: 21 April (Fri) Kanazawa / Okayama Bullet train to Okayama and transfer to the Granvia Hotel.Visit to the Korakuen Gardens and see Okayama Castle.
  • Day 7: 22 April (Sat) Okayama Travel to Kurashiki and Explore the attractive riverside old merchant quarter. Train to Kurashiki. Visit the KANEKO Midwifery Clinic and the Private Medical Hospital maternity unit. Return to Okayama.
  • Day 8: 23 April (Sun) Okayama / Hiroshima / Okayama Train to Hiroshima*. Visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum. Tram from Peace Memorial Park to Hiroshima Port. Cruise on the Inland Sea and visit Miyajima Island and see the Itsukushima Shrine. Train to Okayama.
  • Day 9: 24 April (Mon) Okayama / Kyoto Train to Kyoto and transfer to the hotel. Visit to Fushimi Inari and take part in part of the Tofukuji walk. Walk back to the hotel or take JR train for one stop.
  • Day 10: 25 April (Tues) Kyoto / Kobe Visit Kinkakuji Temple, the Sagano Bamboo Grove and Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. Visit Nijo Castle. Walk through the Nishiki Market and Teramachi-dori (food and craft markets.) Travel to Kobe and check into the Oriental Hotel.
  • Day 11: 26 April (Wed) Kobe Visit Kameda Maternity and Ladies Clinic in Kobe. Visit the MOURI Independent Midwifery Clinic. Visit a sake factory for a visit with tastings.
  • Day 12: 27 April (Thurs) Kobe / Osaka / Kobe Train to Osaka. Explore downtown Osaka on a culinary tour of Dontonbori and Shinsai. Train to Kobe and at leisure. Farewell dinner.
  • Day 13: 28 April (Fri) Kobe Depart for airport or take extension in Sapporo.

*For those who do not wish to visit Hiroshima, we recommend a visit to Naoshima ‘Art Island’ on the Inland Sea near Okayama.

Tour cost

The cost of the tour per person sharing is US $5,593. The cost of the tour with a room to yourself is US $6,545. Costs exclude international flights and transfers.

Book now