I am a Canadian, I am going on a Working Holiday in Japan for 1 year, but I don't know should I buy a Travel Insurance in Canada?

Or is better to buy the insurance in Japan?

  • What things are you looking to insure against?
    – Gagravarr
    Jul 26, 2014 at 0:09
  • That depends. If you already have an insurance in Canada, it may be trivial and cheap to extend it to Japan, moreso than buying a new one in Japan. I remember I got a health insurance for 1 year for 30€ or so back when. What's the best offer you can get in Canada?
    – deceze
    Jul 26, 2014 at 11:10
  • @Gagravarr I am just trying to get medical to cover, drug plan, see doctor etc.
    – King Chan
    Jul 27, 2014 at 1:50
  • @deceze I found a travel insurance that offer from my bank is 100$ CAD for one year, but when I do quote on some insurance company they ask for up to $1100 a year. From my research so far, Japan have a Japanese National Health Insurance. And this page japanhealthinfo.com/2012/07/24/… said their hospital or clinic doesn't accept oversea insurance coverage. I want to know if someone can confirm me this is true? So my only way is to join Nation Health Insurance in Japan or buy insurance there?
    – King Chan
    Jul 27, 2014 at 2:06
  • 2
    For stays of one year or longer, if your company in Japan does not offer the health insurance, then you have to enroll in the national health insurance plan. The enrollment would be managed by your city/town office. With a short-term visa, you may not be required to enroll; but, without the Japanese insurance, you will need to pay cash for 100% of your hospital bills before leaving the hospital. They will not deal with the foreign insurers. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Health_Insurance_(Japan) has some more info. And google has some city links with info in English for residents.
    – Kent
    Jul 28, 2014 at 6:58

2 Answers 2


Just to answer for myself, I have already moved to Osaka, Japan for almost one year. Like Kent said, when I arrived to Osaka, I could enroll in the National Health Insurance Plan (国民健康保険).

The Working Holiday period given to me was 6 months (I could extends to 1 year after arrived for 3, 4 months... forgot how many months exactly).

But either way, I don't have any problem enrolled into the National Health Insurance Plan. The price for 6 months insurance is also really cheap, merely around 2000 yen ($20 CAD) because they will file you as no employment in Japan in the previous year and give you a big discount.

So yes, buying insurance in Japan is way better.


As a resident of Japan you are required to sign up to the National Health Insurance Plan, which you pay for monthly and covers 70% of your healthcare costs. As you said, the first year is very cheap.

But, as a foreigner you have more needs than a Japanese person, for example possible evacuation in a medical, natural, or political disaster, or getting into legal trouble. So you should also consider insurance in your home country that covers you for repatriation, legal fees, or anything else you may need in addition to the Japanese health insurance. Read the details carefully though - I discovered my one year travel insurance policy was invalid because I hadn't bought a return plane ticket!

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