Hay fever (or Pollen allergy) while in Japan

Japanese cedar: Photo by Lal Beral on Flickr

Hay fever(Kafunsho- 花粉症) is a very common allergic condition that affects a huge amount of population in Japan. When the winter is about to end, the allergic pollens begin to discharge into the air.  In Japan, the pollen allergy is caused by two different varieties of trees: Japanese cedar [Sugi(杉)] and Cypress [Hinoki(檜)] trees. There are chances that other pollens may also cause allergic issues. Even though winter gives its way to welcome the season of flowers everywhere, those who are allergic to these pollens will be looking forward to the really dreadful days which comes along with that. The pollen which makes the atmosphere really polluted causes itching, sneezing etc.  makes even a peep out through the windows a nightmare.

Hay fever symptoms

Common symptoms of Hay fever coincides with the common cold symptoms and are usually misguessed as a cold. The common symptoms are:

  • Runny nose, Sneezing, Itchy nose and eyes, Stuffy nose, Red and Watery eyes

Other symptoms like itchy ears, sore throat, sleeplessness, headache may occur in some people. Once you start developing the symptoms, visit the doctor(usually ENT- Jibika(耳鼻科),  take medications and other precautions. Once you got allergic to the pollens, you must take enough precautions and medications prior to the onset of the season next year(by February).


Some daily precautions are unavoidable if you are allergic to the pollens:

  • Wear mask once you go out.
  • Don’t open the windows or doors open for a long time
  • After coming back from outside, remove your clothes and if possible take a shower.
  • Do not put your clothes or beds outside to dry in the sun.
  • Use geared sunglasses to avoid pollen from entering eyes.
Polle block spray

Many over the counter medicines and sprays are also available for hay fever. Anyway, it’s better to consult the doctor before taking medicines.

Hay fever facts

If you are in Japan for the first time and is already allergic, you will be one among the other Hay fever sufferers. But those who have exposed to the pollens for the first time or the second time may not develop the symptoms. Please don’t think that you are lucky not to catch in the hands of this really bad allergic condition. The chances of getting allergic to pollens increases as you are exposed to it for more time. Maybe in the third year or fourth year, there is a chance that you will also be allergic to it. (Just telling that we cannot exclude the chances of getting the Kafunsho in future).

Hay fever became common in Japan in the recent decades. When Japan’s economy achieved great boom after the WWII, the need for construction materials encouraged the society to grow a large number of trees including cypress and cedar trees. Most of them were left unused due to the invention of other cheap construction materials. Those trees grew in large numbers on every Japanese mountains and forest and began to produce tons of pollens as they mature. It thus resulted in such a terrific increase in the number of people suffering from hay fever.

If you are a first-time hayfever sufferer or if you are having symptoms similar to those discussed above, please consult the ENT and take the tests to confirm if it is pollen allergy or not. Take enough precautions, stay healthy and enjoy the spring.