Japan starts Free PCR test from March, 2021. Where can you take it?

Many still miss the pre-corona time  Source: onegai kaeru
Many still miss the pre-corona time Source: onegai kaeru

To help curve the corona virus pandemic, we made a list of venue where you can get cheap PCR tests in Japan (which you still find it in the later part of this article!). 


Now and finally Japanese government announced that they would carry out PCR tests for FREE. Yes, it will be free because the government wants to check how Covid spread in the country in general.


From when? It will start in March. It is possible that the companies which started cheap PCR test as in the below list would complain to the government.

where can you take it?

Where can you take the free PCR test?


The government says the venues shall be in several busy areas of the cities around Japan as well as airports. So Narita and Haneda airports shall be most likely in the Free PCR test venue list.


The way to take the free PCR test could be possibly two ways mainly. 

1) there will be pop up test venues here and there, you just book online using some kind of app and take it

2) in some public venues, you may be required to take the test on the spot


The test only lasts as a matter of 5 mins (the news say 3 minutes but you should have some buffer.). 


There are the reception and the testing counter. You go in and get the PCR test tool from the reception. You bring that tool to the testing counter where your saliva will be taken as the test sample.


Usually you get the result next day. or on the same day with special price 


Saliva method is far better than the "nose" method. With the nose method, the test staff will put the long pole in both of your nose holes! Painful.

Why Now at last? Maybe Olympic?

Empty city in the corona time  Source: onegai kaeru
Empty city in the corona time Source: onegai kaeru

Why finally now that the government decided to carry out the free PCR test?


We see several possible reasons.


One reason may be because of these cheap private PCR test companies. It is not that these company tests could be not accurate but the test takers would not report to the authority even if the result was a positive. The government was worried that the people who take the private PCR tests would hide their results. This results in the situation that the government had no accurate no. of infection in Japan.

Also the fact that these private venues turned out to be super popular. This shows a very high public interest in taking the test. We feel sorry for these companies which may be somewhat "used" as a marketing test to see if these venues can be used.


The biggest reason should be the Tokyo Olympic.


Japan has been under a constant complaint that it has not done enough test to show the actual infection case from the very beginning of this pandemic. The infection case in Japan is very very low comparing to the one in Europe or the US.

Critics say the Japanese government had not done many test so that it makes it look like there is not big pandemic.

Now IOC is not 100% sure about the Tokyo 2021. Only the JOC kept saying the Olympic will take place.  Japan needs to prove it has really not big pandemic.

End of private cheap PCR tests?

Does this mean the end of these cheap private PCR test companies?

Our guess is not exactly. Of course, many of them shall be closed or reduced the size of the business once the government starts the free PCR test in March here and there in Japan. We guess that there will be huge backlog to the government test. So there will be so many people who can not take the free ones on time. They will take the private ones. Also those who wants to take the test in secret from the government eye will still take this.


Once you take the government test, you will be under the control of the government. ( This is good! But some may find it concerning. )

PRC test for corona virus

Covid-19 keeps spreading around the world.


The governments launching lockdowns and light lock-downs (like in Germany) but the wave of Covid-19 seems unstoppable. Even Germany which had been less affected by Covid now goes into the hard lockdown over Dec and possibly Jan.


In this pandemic, you may hear PCR test a lot. PCR means " Polymerase chain reaction".  You must have heard PCR test a lot. Do you know how much to do it in Japan normally?


There are two ways.

A. One way is to visit a clinic. Many clinics do it in Japan.

B. Our observation shows the fee at clinics, PCR test cost 25000JPY and expensive one cost 40000JPY (esp. the one some government asks to use for entry process) .


The other way is to get the test kit at home, send your sample and get the result at home. This costs often around 7000JPY.


Today one newly opened clinic in Shinbashi announced they would do it for less 30USD (2500JPY excl. tax).


So now that you know there will be free PCR tests from the Japanese government, you may not think about getting the cheap (still cost) one. But we put as below the venue list where you can get cheap PCR test in Japan.  This is still useful before the free one starts and under several circumstances mentioned above. 


Corona Free Certificate for Japan and the world?


We envisage a concept of the "Corona Free Certificate" which will be reality soon or later. No word from the Japanese government though, we think there will be a Corona Free Certificate in some form which you must get into public venues such as bullet train, domestic flight, concert, events etc. Many governments already have employed this type of certificates for international flights. We think these free PCR test plan be part of these certificate concepts to be used in Japan.


Still useful ! Cheap corona test companies

Cheap PCR test clinic opened by Kinoshita group Source: official website
This is Cheap PCR test clinic opened by Kinoshita group. Not free venue by the government! Source: official website

1. Shingata Corona PCR kensa center


The name is "Shingata Corona PCR kensa center" run by Kinoshita group. The company also plans to open a new clinic in Kabukicho, Shinjuku.



The official website

So where is it exactly? And how to reserve it?


The address : (On west side) 1st floor of New Shinbashi building, 2-chōme-16-1 ShinbashiMinato City, Tokyo 105-0004

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2. SmarTAmp Station“駅前検査”

SmarTAmp Station“駅前検査” is in front of Tokyo station (10 min walk). 


The cost start from 1980JPY (less than 20USD!)


So far the cheapest.


When you pay extra fee (9900JPY in total), you get the result on the same day. For this deal, you must be at the shop before 15:00. 


Please note that you must reserve online before you visit the shop. You can not directly go there with no appointment or call them to make appointment. You must book online.


It is in the Takeda Edobashi building, 3-chōme-14-3 NihonbashiChuo City, Tokyo 103-0027.


0900 AM- 1800



The official website

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3. Shingata Corona Kensa Center (Softbank)


There is no physical shop. You do the PCR test by mail order.


The website says 2000JPY but this does NOT include all tools and shipping cost.  This one is cheaper than many clinics but for this cheap PCR test list, not cheap one.


The total cost depends where you live in Japan but you can expect around 6000-10000JPY


For example, if you are in Tokyo area, 5,786JPY and if you in Okinawa, the cost 10,802 JPY.


The website is not so easy. You may even pay more for this test.


Official website

How it works? online reservation site

How these reasonably priced PCR test venues work?


For example, the one in Shinagawa and near Tokyo, you need to book in advance online. 


And as of 8th Dec, 2020, the site is quite busy.  They are full basically in 2020 already.

Cheap PCR test booking site Source: official website
Cheap PCR test booking site Source: official website

Pros and cons

Obviously the pro is that being quite cheap.


But the biggest con is that if you want to use the result for the official reason such as the entry permit of some country, many countries would not accept this result. Instead, you must go to a designated test organization. Even though the company says it provides the doctor diagnose for 6000JPY, many governments would not accept it.


So if you want to use it for an official purpose, you must consult the authority if it is possible to use this cheap PCR test. 


The Japanese government concern about the private PCR test...


The government in Japan also is worried that the statistic of infected cases may be impacted by these private test services as they lose track of the infected cases if the test taker does not report to the authority. This is one of the biggest reasons that the government came up with this free PCR test plan.


There will be more cheap PCR test venues in Japan


As you see, all these cheap PCR test companies get so many bookings and they can not meet the demand. The cost shall be even cheaper. So far, 20USD is the cheapest. We expect many companies already got some inventory to clear up so they need to remain open for now. But it shall be cheaper in some months esp. when the government starts its free PCR.

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