Medical and Emergency Services in Nozawa Onsen

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Police and Paramedics

There is a 24 hour police presence in Nozawa Onsen. The Police Box is located about 20 meters down the hill from the traffic lights in front of Chuo Bus Terminal.

There are also fire and paramedic services stationed in Nozawa Onsen. In general the response time is within 10 minutes to central Nozawa, and 15 minutes to the Ski Resort.


Doctor Giving Diagnosis to Patient

There are 2 clinics and 1 dentist based in Nozawa Onsen.

These are general practices, dealing with minor ailments and sprains. Anything serious will be referred directly to a larger general hospital.

As with most places in Nozawa Onsen, the clinics are located within walking distance of Chuo Terminal.

There are also a couple of pharmacies in Nozawa Onsen that will have over the counter medication as well and being able to fill prescriptions.


For serious injuries, victims will be taken directly from the scene to a large general hospital. The closest general hospital to Nozawa Onsen is the Iiyama Red Cross Hospital. By ambulance, this takes about 20 minutes. During the daytime, they generally have English speaking staff on duty, but after hours it is generally Japanese only.

If Iiyama Red Cross is unable to accept an incoming case, it will probably be referred to Hokushin General Hospital, located 35 minutes from Nozawa Onsen, or to one of the several emergency hospitals in Nagano City (about 50 minutes).

Rescue Services

It is important to note that in medical emergencies, the paramedics are constantly talking to hospital staff, and if the hospital staff feel that the needs of the victim are better served elsewhere, they will reroute the ambulance. Generally, this happens so the victims’ initial assessment will be carried out by a specialist.

While any emergency is a stressful time, it is important you allow medical staff to get on with their jobs and treat what they see in front of them. Language will be a barrier, but they will give you information as best they can. Japan has very high medical standards, and you need to trust them.

If an emergency arises and an ambulance is called, then someone should accompany the victim in the vehicle. Preferably someone who has knowledge of the victim’s medical history, especially allergies. The ambulance staff will probably ask for a person to accompany them, and then also warn about trying to follow the ambulance in a car (don’t). As the ambulance leaves the scene, they will not be 100% sure where they are headed.

The area is also covered by a rescue helicopter for life threatening situations. The helicopter generally transfers patients to Hokushin General Hospital heliport, an 8 minute flight, or if not there, then on to Nagano Red Cross hospital (15 minutes).

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