Matsumoto Kiyoshi OTC Medicines to Have Packaging in English!

In the past, if travelers got sick while in Japan, they'd have to shell out a lot of money to go to an English-speaking doctor. Matsumoto Kiyoshi, one of Japan's largest drugstore chains, is tackling this issue by adding English markings to all its original-brand over-the-counter medicine packaging by 2020. If you don't know much about its original brand "matsukiyo" and you want to see what items you should look out for the next time you visit a Japanese drugstore, keep reading!



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Despite the significant increase in foreign tourists to Japan over the years, many Japanese medicines still do not contain any English markings or instructions. As a result, many tourists find themselves paying a lot of money just to go to an English-speaking doctor when taking over-the-counter medicine would have sufficed. Especially with the Olympics 2020 coming up, this has become a crucial problem to tackle.

Matsumoto Kiyoshi, one of the largest drugstore chains in Japan, has realized this and is taking a stand. If you have visited Japan before, you might have seen several of its stores. Here's a picture of one branch in Ikebukuro:

Aiming for 2020, the drugstore chain is currently developing new packaging for all its original medicines, which go under the brand name "matsukiyo." Although few locals and tourists know of the brand's existence, many would have probably seen several of their products before. Here are some of the items that fall under this brand:

One of the biggest changes to the packaging is the inclusion of English text. Though not perfect, it adequately explains what sicknesses the medicine tackles and the accurate dosage.

Another change is where the information is displayed. The new packaging will contain all the crucial information (e.g. what the medicine is for, dosage) on the front and back, making it easier to pick out what you need with just one or two glances.

In the past, we published a guide on Japanese over-the-counter medicine for travelers. While there will definitely still be a need for articles like this because most Japanese medicines only have packaging and instructions in Japanese, it is a relief to know that companies like Matsumoto Kiyoshi are stepping up to cater to a more international audience.

The next time you visit Japan and feel unwell, head to your nearest Matsumoto Kiyoshi and look out for any products with the symbol below. The closer it gets to 2020, the higher your chance of finding medicines with English packaging!

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(Thumbnail Credit: Torjrtx /

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

About the author

Yuri I.
A third culture kid that is forever searching for a permanent home. When I'm not busy translating or writing, I'm working on my voice, taking photographs, watching anime, and gobbling up everything in sight. For me, curiosity never ends.

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