Navigating the Process How to Pay Your Kenko Hoken in Japan

Navigating the Process: How to Pay Your Kenko Hoken in Japan


Living and working in Japan comes with its own set of responsibilities, and one crucial aspect is ensuring you have health insurance coverage. In Japan, health insurance is a mandatory requirement, and one common type is known as Kenko Hoken. Understanding how to pay for your Kenko Hoken is essential for expatriates and locals alike, as it guarantees access to quality healthcare services. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of paying your Kenko Hoken, making sure you stay on top of your health coverage in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Understanding Kenko Hoken

Kenko Hoken, or health insurance, is a comprehensive system in Japan that provides coverage for medical expenses. There are different types of health insurance, including National Health Insurance (NHI) for residents, Employees’ Health Insurance (Shakai Hoken) for employees, and others for specific groups. The key is to identify the type of Kenko Hoken you are enrolled in, as the payment process may vary.

Payment Options:

  1. Automatic Payroll Deductions (Shakai Hoken): If you are employed in Japan, your health insurance premiums are often automatically deducted from your monthly salary. This system, known as Shakai Hoken, simplifies the payment process as your employer takes care of the contributions. However, it’s essential to confirm the details with your employer, including the amount deducted and the coverage provided.
  2. National Health Insurance (NHI): For those not covered by Shakai Hoken, such as freelancers, part-time workers, or students, National Health Insurance (NHI) is a common option. NHI premiums are usually paid monthly, and the payment process can vary depending on your municipality. In many cases, you will receive a payment slip in the mail or can visit your local municipal office to make payments in person. Some municipalities also offer online payment options, providing a convenient way to fulfill your obligations.
  3. Paying at Convenience Stores or Banks: Many local governments in Japan have partnered with convenience stores and banks to facilitate health insurance payments. You may receive payment slips or notifications indicating the amount due and a barcode. Simply take this to a participating convenience store or bank, and the cashier will assist you in completing the payment. This method is especially convenient for those who prefer in-person transactions.
  4. Online Payment Services: Some municipalities also offer online payment services, allowing you to pay your health insurance premiums from the comfort of your home. Check with your local government to see if they provide this option, and if so, register for the service. Online payments are not only convenient but also help you keep track of your payment history.
  5. Year-End Adjustments: It’s crucial to be aware of the year-end adjustment process. At the end of the fiscal year, your income and other relevant factors are assessed to determine if there are any adjustments to your health insurance premiums. Make sure to promptly address any notifications or requests for additional information during this period.


Paying your Kenko Hoken in Japan is a vital responsibility that ensures you have access to quality healthcare services when needed. Whether you’re covered under Shakai Hoken, National Health Insurance, or another scheme, understanding the payment process is crucial for a smooth experience. Stay informed about the specific requirements of your health insurance plan, explore available payment options, and proactively manage your coverage. By doing so, you not only fulfill your legal obligations but also contribute to a healthier and more secure life in Japan.

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