Spring campaign offers free PCR tests to Hiroshima residents

[UPDATE Free PCR tests available at Hiroshima Station until May 16, 2020]

Hiroshima Prefecture is following up its general PCR testing trial with a wider and easier to access testing program this month. Please take this opportunity to help local authorities maintain control of the spread of COVID-19 while we await the vaccination roll out.

Those wanting to take part in the initial trial, held in February, had to go through a rather cumbersome reservation process, which perhaps contributed to only just over half of the 6000 tests available to the general public being taken up. This time around, participants just have to show up at one of the test sites to receive and submit their test kit and wait to hear by phone if they have tested positive (there is no call if you test negative, so no news really is good news in this case).

PCR test process

  • Go to one of the test sites (listed below)
  • Pick up your test kit
  • Supply a healthy dose of your own saliva (over 2ml recommended)
  • Return your test kit in the supplied envelope the next day
  • If you don’t receive a call the following evening, you are in the clear
  • See below for the process if you do return a positive test

GetHiroshima co-founder JJ Walsh found the process fairly harmless and the staff at Hiroshima Station friendly and helpful. She did say that the medical form was a bit of kanji character challenge, but all other essential information was in English.

Hiroshima City Test Sites

Hiroshima Station (North Entrance 2nd Floor deck)
For individuals and groups

Hiroshima Prefectural Office (North Entrance 2nd Floor deck)

Shintenchi Park
For groups
Closed April 23-25

Former West Hiroshima Airport Site
For groups

Test kits are also available at participating local pharmacies in Hiroshima City and Fukuyama City

Naka-ku, Higashi-ku, Asakita-ku, Aki-ku (collections until 13:00 on Monday & Wednesday until May 31)

Minami-ku, Nishi-ku, Asaminami-ku, Saeki-ku (collections until 13:00 on Tuesday & Friday until May 28)

Fukuyama City (collections until 13:00 on Monday and Wednesday )

When taking you PCR test

  • Don’t eat, drink, gargle, brush your teeth or smoke 30 minutes before taking your saliva sample.
  • In the case of a positive PCR test

    • You will receive confirmation of your positive test by telephone after 6pm the day after your test is submitted.
    • Get ready to be moved to a hotel for 8 days of quarantine the day after notification, packing things you need to take with you.
    • You will be seen by a doctor and transported to your quarantine hotel the day after your positive test notification.
    • If still displaying no symptoms after 8 days of quarantine (10 days after submitting your test) you will be able to return home.

    JJ Walsh says that staff at the Hiroshima Station test site said they had had around 800 participants on the first day, so it seems that people are responding to the simpler system. The initial general PCR testing trial returned a positive infection rate of just 0.12%, so it will be very interesting to see the results of this wider testing program.

Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of GetHiroshima.com and loves running in the mountains.