Medicine in Japan

21 Nov - 2 Dec 2023
  • Medical & Professional Tours

About the tour

Japan is a fascinating blend of refined ritual, stylised ceremony, ancient history and hyper urban neon. It is unique in its food, culture, dress and traditions. Experience different facets of this exceptional country, seeing the culture, society and history of Japan through the prism of your own profession, travelling at a stunning time of year as the leaves change from green to vivid red and yellow.

This tour will examine the history of healthcare in Japan and provides real insight into medicine and society in Japan in both rural and urban areas. Learn about cancer care on a visit to the National Cancer Centre and visit the hospital in Tokyo established to follow the “British system” by a 19th century alumni of St Thomas’. An examination of primary health care gives excellent insight into society, such as Japanese longevity as a result of diet and lifestyle, and elderly health initiatives.Tour leader, Dr Clare Hurle, is expertly qualified to lead this tour, having lived and worked in Japan for years as a GP trainer assisting in the development of primary healthcare systems.

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Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, ​Dr Clare Hurle

​Dr Clare Hurle

Dr Clare Hurle is a GP Partner and Trainer at Cross Deep Surgery in Twickenham, where she has worked for over a decade.She graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in Natural Sciences and then the Wharton School, Philadelphia, USA with an MBA.

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 lived in Japan for around 6 years and speaks Japanese.

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 2 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.

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  • Tel: (Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764
  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
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Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1: Tokyo (Tues, 21 Nov) Arrive in Tokyo, a vast city encompassing a multitude of distinctive personalities, and transfer to the hotel. Enjoy a local dinner with the group.
  • Day 2: Tokyo (Wed, 22 Nov) Experience the history of this modern metropolis, starting with a to the historic Asakusa neighbourhood and visit the ancient Buddhist Senso-ji. Continue Shitamachi Museum and Ueno Toshugu. Cruise along the Sumida River to tranquil Hamarikyu Gardens and walk through the gardens to the National Cancer Centre, Japan’s leading cancer research and treatment centre. Hear a talk outlining the history and current work of the centre and take part in a Q&A session. Return to the hotel. Welcome dinner.
  • Day 3: Tokyo (Wed 23 Nov) Walk to Jikei University School of Medicine, the only medical school founded during the Meiji era that followed the principles of British 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. Visit the fashionable Harajuku area and see the intricate woodblock prints at the Woodblock Print Museum. Continue to the Meiji Shrine, surrounded by attractive parkland, and visit the park, shrine and museum. Drive to upmarket Ginza district.
  • Day 4 Tokyo / Matsumoto (Fri, 24 Nov) Take the train to Nagono. Travel by bus to the Nagano Clinic and meet the team and learn about their work on health promotion and longevity initiatives. Continue to Matsumoto, situated in a fertile valley below the Northern Japan Alps, and check into the hotel.
  • Day 5 Matsumoto (25 Nov, Sat) Visit 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). Continue to explore the old town, including Nakamichi and Nawate Streets - known for their antiques, lacquerware, ceramics and craftshops - alongside cafes and the Matsumoto Brewery Taproom. At leisure.
  • Day 6 Matsumoto / Hiroshima (26 Nov, Sun) Travel to Hiroshima by train via Nagoya. Arrive and transfer to the hotel. Option to take part in a local culinary experience, including oysters and local sake.
  • Day 7: Hiroshima (Mon, 27 Nov) Visit the Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine to hear a talk on the clinical radiation effect of the atomic bomb used in Hiroshima and the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima from Professor Nobuyuki Hirohashi. The talk will detail the current research examining the legacy of both Hiroshima and Fukushima. Local okonomiyaki lunch. Visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum with its many poignant exhibits.
  • Day 8: Hiroshima (Tues, 28 Nov) Take a cruise on the Inland Sea past the vivid red Torii Shrine set in the water, denoting that the entire island of Miyajima is sacred. Explore the island, covered in virgin forest, as felling trees is forbidden on the island - as is giving birth or dying. Return to the hotel and at leisure.
  • Day 9: Hiroshima/ Kyoto (Wed, 29 Nov) 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 Fushimi Inari and take part in part of the Tofukuji walk through the vermillion gates, .visit Hojo rock garden and Tsutenkyo Bridge and gardens.
  • Day 10: Kyoto (Thur, 30 Nov) Visit the shimmering medieval Golden Pavilion, with its sensuously contoured temple roofs and Shinto shrines. Visit the Golden Pavilion and garden and Nijo Castle. Travel out to Arashiyama and walk through the Arashiyama bamboo forest. Visit the Actors’ Garden and tea house.
  • Day 11: Kyoto (Fri, 1 Dec) Explore the food and craft markets of old Kyoto. Continue to Gion and the Geisha District. Options to visit the Museum of Ophthalmology and Surgery, the railway museum or further explore Kyoto. Farewell dinner.
  • Day 12: Kyoto (Sat, 2 Dec) Depart for airport after breakfast.

Tour cost

The cost of the tour is US $5,771 per person sharing. The cost of the tour with a room to yourself is US $6,699

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