It is appropriate to take a PCR test when having mild cold symptoms. Moreover, it's also required when traveling to another place, so some of you might have experienced this already.

In my case, I got very sick for a couple of days and had symptoms such as tiredness, acute pain in my throat, a bit of coughing, followed by shivers, and a high fever close to 38° Celsius.

I first had to inform my company that I was sick, then had to take the PCR test and see if I had COVID-19 or not. In case the test results were positive, I had to inform my superiors as soon as possible.

It was my first time taking a PCR test in Japan. I had some friends in Japan who tried but they were unsuccessful in making an appointment, so I must confess I was pretty worried regarding that aspect.

I also felt so unwell that I could barely move around the house, so I was freaking out a little at the idea that I might not be able to see a doctor and get well soon.

I also have a couple of friends and acquaintances in Japan who succeeded in making an appointment for the test. Everyone had different experiences depending on their local ward.

For example, a friend from Kyushu only had to make a call, and the doctors came and tested them at their house. However, another friend from Tokyo called several times and was told to stay at home for two weeks (even though she had a high fever and was coughing).

I live in Chiba, so I looked for information online regarding where I should call for a reservation. I live in the Ichikawa City area, so I had to call a number posted on the Ichikawa City COVID-19 Advice Page.

I dialed the number, and a robotic voice answered first, saying that they’d put me through to a human.


Fortunately, I speak Japanese, but I believe the service is also available in English. A nice lady answered soon afterward. She then asked for my name, my symptoms, when they started, and my address.


After I answered all the questions, she gave me a few names, numbers, and addresses of clinics nearby that offer the PCR test and told me that I need to call and make a reservation. She had such a calming voice and guided me through all the steps, so it made me feel less nervous about the whole process.

After choosing one of the clinics, I called, introduced myself, and mentioned that I got the number from the COVID-19 advice center.

One of the nurses answered, asked me the same questions as above, then suggested I could come in on the very same day in an hour or two.

The good thing about it is that the representative from the advice center found a clinic nearby. Thanks to that, I could go right away while avoiding other people and not tiring myself too much.

The nurse asked me to call the clinic again when I got there, and she would guide me through a different entrance.

When I got to the clinic, I called, and she came outside, asked how I was feeling, then guided me to where I should take the test.

Taking the Test

When I got inside, they took my temperature. Then, a kind-looking doctor came and gave me the test. It wasn’t painful or uncomfortable at all. It was similar to the one for the flu.

He introduced a long stick swab through my nose and into my throat, twisted it a little, and it was over.

He gave me some medicine for my fever and pain, and I was free to go.

Waiting for the results

When I got home, I washed my hands, gargled, took a shower, then tried to eat something before taking my medicine. My throat was hurting so much that I could only eat a few spoons of rice porridge (お粥 okayu).

I had three types of medicine: the pill type (one was for emergencies should I feel sick or my fever get worse), and one that was powdery and tasted awful, so I drank it with plenty of water to diminish the taste a little.

The results came out the next day through a phone call, and fortunately, it wasn’t COVID-19.

The doctor himself called me and also asked if I was feeling better. My fever didn’t go down, so he told me to wait a couple of days and take a rest from work as I had a weakened immune system.

A week had passed, and I wasn’t feeling any better, so I went to have another check-up and got my refill of awful-tasting pills.


I eventually took a few more days off and did nothing but recharge myself and take my daily dose of medicine.

It ended up that my worries regarding the test were for nothing.

Everyone was so sweet and tried to calm me down and explain everything in detail.

The test was free of charge as my health insurance covered the fee (I did have to pay for the medicine, though).

Keep in mind that depending on the area you live in, you might not be as lucky.

If you are worried and can’t get an appointment in your area, it might be a good idea to try out the PCR tests sold at drug stores in Japan (at least, until you see a doctor).

I saw some nearby and, in my area, at least, it was around 4,000-5,000 yen.

Related Information

For Japanese Speakers

Covid-19 Advice Center in Chiba
The phone number I dialed for getting advice: 03-6747-8414 (available 24h)
You can also contact the health center in your area.

For those who live in Tokyo, here are a few numbers you can call if you live around the area:

  • Minato Ward: 03-3455-4461
  • Setagaya Ward: 03-5432-2910
  • Shibuya Ward: 03-3463-3650

For English Speakers

Clinic nearby PCR Booking in English-nationwide

  • Tokyo Health Care Information Center (Himawari): 03-5285-8181 (for those who have cold symptoms)
  • Tokyo COVID-19 call-center: 0570-550571 (for those who want advice/want to get tested regardless of having symptoms or not).

(Note from the Editors: This is one writer's experience and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult with a medical professional should you require it.)

By - cinnamonellie.