Buying birth control in Tokyo

Get ready to be disappointed.

Buying birth control is easy, but Japan is severely lacking in choices. Like most women, I subjected my body to multiple types over the years before finding one that worked best for me (Nuva Ring).

Unfortunately, most Japanese clinics are not going to carry anything other than the traditional daily pills. The clinic I went to in hip and happening Shimokitazawa had two choices for me: a pill with the same release of hormones each day and one that released them according to your cycle.

They cost the same at about ¥2500. National insurance does not cover birth control (or at least pills. Can’t vouch for the IUD.)

Simply make the appointment, show up and answer worryingly few questions, then walk out with up to six months of birth control. It’s a very painless process once you get over your lack of choices and the sticker shock of paying ¥2500 for something most of us consider a necessity.

I can personally vouch for Primary Care Tokyo in Shimokitazawa. The doctor is Western (I think American) and studied at Yale Medical. He is familiar with both Western and Eastern practices so is good for answering questions. The front desk clerk also knows great English.

Because Shimokitazawa is a bit far from my distant suburb, I call ahead and get multiple months at a time. I have never had any problem with them. I’ve even had other people pick up my pills for me with no questions asked.


Primary Care Tokyo


Urbanity Shimokitazawa 3F

2-1-16 Kitazawa

Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

Phone: 03-5432-7177

Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00-12:30; 14:30-1800; Saturday 9:00-12:30; closed Sundays

From the Shimokitazawa Station it’s about a ten minute walk. Their website has concise directions.

If you have never been to Shimokitazawa give yourself some time to wander after your appointment. There are seemingly endless shops of clothes of all sorts, from everyday Japanese wear (normcore meets cotton business) to Western vintage fashion. There are also great coffee shops and restaurants from multiple nations (even a Mexican place). You can spend all day window shopping and looking at art. It’s a very hip place.


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