Japan Drugstore Guide

Japan Drugstore Guide

From painkillers to hayfever, here's what medicine to buy in Japan at local drugstores


Japanese drugstores can be intimidating places! Shelves of colorful kanji and katakana packaging, you can get a headache from just looking at them (or make the one you already have even worse!).

Our comprehensive guide to drugstores in Japan will help you choose what medicine is best for your ailments. We’ve built this list based on pharmacist recommendations and explanations of what medications they think are best.

This list is meant to be a guide and should not be taken as medical advice. It is always best to consult with your doctor for the best medication for your body. All of the prices are accurate as of 2023 and are listed before tax is included.

Painkillers / Pain Medication

Over exerted yourself playing soccer? Got run of the mill joint pain? Maybe you just have a headache and need some relief. One thing that won’t help your headache is navigating the Japanese drugstore without a guide. Luckily, we have taken the time to interview Japanese drug store employees for their expert recommendations for over-the-counter pain medication.

View our full list of painkillers/pain medication here

Hayfever Medicine / Allergy Medicine

Red and itchy eyes, blocked sinuses and sneezing, we feel you. Hayfever in Japan can hit hard (and here’s the curious reason why). We’ve got your back with this list of the best hayfever and allergy medicines in Japan.

VIew our full list of hayfever medicine / allergy medicine here

Period Pain Medicine / Women’s Health

Ladies, just because it’s that time of the month doesn’t mean your vacation in Japan needs to be ruined by pain and aches. With potential language barriers in Japan, it can be tricky to get the medicine you need, so we have compiled a list of the most recommended brands of medications to ease discomfort during your period.

VIew our full list of period pain medicine / women’s health medicine here

Cold and flu medicine

Catching a cold or the flu in Japan is more likely between December and March, so ahead of winter, we quizzed local drug store employees to hear their recommendations on the best cold and flu products in to get you feeling better asap.

View our full list of cold and flu medicine here


Summer in Japan is here. With Pocari Sweat in one hand and a water bottle in the other, we venture outside—likely regretting our decision quickly. Thankfully, the humidity is great for our skin, so skin care during the summer months seems like a no-brainer. However, navigating the Japanese drug store when it comes to sunburns can be tricky.

View our full list of sunscreen brands here

Staying Cool

What comes to mind when you think of Japan? For those living here in the summer months, heat and humidity are usually high on that list. With over 50,000 people hospitalized due to heatstroke every year, it’s important to know how to stay clear and cool.  

View our full list of products to keep you cool this summer in Japan here