How To Get A Contraceptive Pill In Japan | 8 Things To Know About Birth Control in Japan


Are you wondering how to get a contraceptive pill in Japan? Don’t worry! Here are 8 important things that you should know about birth control and other ways to avoid pregnancy. Read further for a complete guide to birth control pills.

If you’ve been living in Japan for a long time, I’m sure you’ve heard the term “piru” (ピル). Piru is a common term used to refer to contraceptive pills in Japan. 

How to get a contraceptive pill in Japan? 

In Japan, contact your OB/GYNwho will prescribe you the birth control pills or “piru” in Japanese. Only on doctor’s prescription can you get the contraceptive pills in Japan as it is not available over-the-counter. It costs around 2,000-3,000 yens per month. Oral contraceptive pills are not covered in Japanese health insurance. 

It is not very famous here because women who consume emergency contraceptive pills in Japan are extremely low as compared to the west. 

It was only legalised here in 1999, 40 years apart from the western countries. 

For the longest time, Japan was the only UN member country to not approve of contraceptive pills while the other countries did. 

Which is why it is not so popular in this country and even the Japan birth control policy was quite strict. 

Japan has always been a little conservative in topics like pregnancy, women’s rights, abortion and isn’t much talked about. 

Abortion was legal in 1949 but the country has only recently started accepting it in the society. 

So, let’s get to the know more about how to get a contraceptive pill in Japan and other birth control options in Japan!

How To Get A Contraceptive Pill In Japan

Contraceptive Pill in Japan: What is it and How it Works?

Birth control pills, commonly referred as “the pills” are taken orally by women to prevent pregnancy. It is a combination of oestrogen and progestogen.

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Once the pill is consumed, the hormones in the pill start activating and keep the women’s ovaries from releasing eggs. 

Source: Unsplash

It also thickens cervical mucus that blocks the sperm from meeting the eggs that lead to pregnancy. 

The hormones present in the pill also thin the uterus lining which helps in keeping away the fertilised egg from attaching to the uterus. 

Now that you’re fully aware of this, let’s move how to get a contraceptive pill in Japan.

Why is Japan Obsessed with Pills?

Growing up, many of us have seen videos of random people putting condoms on bananas but no one ever talked about contraceptives, did they?

That’s how we were provided with sex education that also typically scared us.

We know, condoms can be uncomfortable at times but there’s always a choice to get the better option for birth control. 

How To Get A Contraceptive Pill In Japan
Source: Unsplash

This is because you’re often not too sure about condoms (Even Though pills aren’t a guarantee). 

Condoms burst often and if you don’t want a baby, you can be on the safer side and get contraceptive pills for the women.

The pill became available in 1960s and indicated towards the liberation of western women but still abortion was seen as a taboo by many religion institutions. 

However, it has become more popular and accepted now in Japan.

The Japanese Condomania

Condoms are widely popular in Japan because most of the young people. 

They don’t know how to get a contraceptive pill in Japan or are worried about the side effects of it, emotionally as well as physically.

For the Japanese, protection always means condoms, calendar rhythm method, withdrawal method, and basal body temperature monitoring. 

These contraceptive methods aren’t foolproof. And with methods like rhythm method, withdrawal method, and temperature monitoring, you can’t always be 100% sure. 

So, there’s a great need to educate people on how to get a contraceptive pill in Japan. 

If someone gets pregnant in Japan, abortion is avaible but it is quite expensive and also needs papers to be signed and other legal bindings that needs to be carried out.  

That is why it’s best to learn how to get a contraceptive pill in Japan and use it in case of an emergency.

 How to Get the Contraceptive Pill in Japan?

Coming to the main question: how to get a contraceptive pill in Japan? 

Well, the answer to this is pretty simple. Contraceptive pills in Japan are hard to come by at your local pharmacy store. If you want to get on birth control pills, you’ll have to visit your gynaecologist and get a prescription. 

Source: Shutterstock

Birth control pills in Japan cost around ¥2,000-3,000 a month depending on the brand your doctor recommends. 

You might also have to take a blood test before you’ve been prescribed the doses of birth control pills. 

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Also, the contraceptive pills aren’t covered in your Japanese health insurance so make sure you have sufficient funds for it. 

Types of Contraceptive Pills Available in Japan

After Learning about how to get a contraceptive pill in Japan, let’s move on to the types of pills available. 

There are two types of  Japanese birth control pills you can get on a prescription – Monophasic pills and Multiphasic pills

  • Monophasic pills are one type that is consumed as a constant dose through the cycle. It runs on a 21-day cycle and the most common ones are Marvelon and Ortho M-21.
  • Multiphasic pills are consumed in varying amounts during pill schedules. They can run both on a 21-day as well as 28-day cycle. Triquilar, Ange, New Phase, Ortho 777, as well as Marvelon are the most popular ones.

How to take the Contraceptive Pills?

There are two types of pills that are of 21-day and 28-day packages. 

If you’re opting for a 28-day pill course then you’ll have to take a pill for 21 days which is known as an “active” pill that contains hormones.

The last 7 pills do not contain any hormone and are regarded as “reminder” pills that should be taken after the completion of the active pills.

And If you’re taking the 21-day course then you will have to take one pill every day for 3 weeks and not take any pills for the following week. 

New pack of pills should be started after not taking the pill for a week. 

I was advised to take the 28-day course. And, I must say, apart from some mood swings, I didn’t face any drastic side effects. 

But different women have different experiences with birth control pills. While it was pretty smooth sailing for me, it might not be for others. But you won’t know until you try. 

Emergency Contraception in Japan: The Morning After Pill in Japan

So how to get a contraceptive pill in Japan if you want an emergency contraception. 

Well, this can be a little tricky. 

abortion and birth control pills in japan,
Source: Shutterstock

The morning after pill can only be provided to you if you have a doctor’s prescription. Consider calling and taking an appointment before getting it. All you gotta say is “mo-ningu afutaa piru” to ask for a morning after pill in Japanese. 

The Citizen’s Project for Pharmacy Access to Emergency Contraception movement has been fighting to improve the access to emergency morning-after pill in Japan. Hopefully, women in Japan eventually can access morning after pill without a prescription.

Benefits of Contraceptive Pills

It’s also important to learn the benefits after you know how to get a contraceptive pill in Japan. It is convenient and safe. It offers protection against issues like:

  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Acne
  • Infections in tubes, ovaries and uterus
  • Anemia and iron deficiency
  • Cysts in ovaries or breasts
  • Bad cramps
  • Heavy or irregular menstrual cycle
  • Ovarian Cancer

Other Birth Control Options in Japan

If you don’t prefer being on the birth control pills, here are some other birth control options you could try: 

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Condoms: This is the most common birth control method worldwide. Condoms are easily available in any drugstore, supermarket or convenience stores.

Spermicides: Spermicides are a type of contraceptives that kill the sperm or stop it from moving. 

IUD: gynaecologists insert/remove the IUDs. They are quite expensive, around 50,000 yens. obgyn/gyns usually prefer IUDs on women who have already given birth as it is difficult to place IUD on women without childbirth experience.

Birth Control Pills in Japan: FAQs

Is birth control available in Japan?

Yes, birth control is available in Japan. 80% of married women prefer condoms, however, you can get contraceptives in drugstores, online or by visiting a clinic if you have a doctor’s prescription.

Is the pill legal in Japan?

Yes the normal low dose contraceptive pills as well as the morning after pill are legal in Japan with the prescription of your doctor. 

Is birth control free in Japan?

Birth control is not free in Japan. It costs around 2,000-3,000 yens to get a contraceptive pill in Japan. If you didn’t use a condom then it’s best to opt for a morning after pill as soon as possible. Check with your doctor before getting any birth control contraceptive.

Can I get birth control without an examination?

Yes, you don’t need an exam or Pap test before getting a contraceptive pill. All you need is a prescription from your doctor. Your doctor can also suggest some basic medical checkups before suggesting you a contraceptive pill. Tests like checking blood pressure, asking about blood clotting etc is common. 

Where can I get birth control in Japan?

You can get birth control in Japan by visiting your ob/gyn first. You can get condoms and oral contraceptives from drugstores. online or by visiting a clinic.

Where to buy birth control pills in japan

You need to visit the OB/GYN in order to get a prescription for birth control pills in Japan. The birth control pills in Japan is not covered by health insurance in Japan. Most gynaecologists’ offices in Japan will have birth control pills for you to purchase.

Can I buy contraceptive pills over the counter in Japan?

Oral birth control pills in Japan cannot be bought over the counter. You’ll need a prescription from a OB/GYN

How much is birth control pills in Japan?

Birth control pills in Japan cost about 3000 yes per month. In Japan, birth control pills aren’t covered in the health insurance.

Where I can buy after pill in Japan?

You can get a morning after pill in Japan at an women’s clinic in Japan. And it costs about ¥10,000 to ¥20,000. However, you’ll need a prescription from a OB/GYN before to buy a morning after pill in Japan.

What is morning after pill called in Japan?

The morning after pill is called ”afutaa piru” (アフターピル) in Japanese. In Japan, NorLevo is prescribed as emergency contraceptive pill that is available only with prescription.

Contraceptive is a Safe Solution

If you didn’t plan a pregnancy and you’re stuck with doubts about it after an intercourse, the best option is to go to your gynaecologist and ask them for contraceptives. 

Don’t worry, just trust your doctor and what he says, follow his guidelines and instructions. Hope you’re aware of how to get a contraceptive pill in Japan now!

Also Read: 

  1. What to know before visiting a doctor in Japan
  2. Best Japanese Condom brands
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