Banking in Japan


Opening a bank account in Japan may sound like an arduous task but it is actually fairly straightforward.

Japan has a number of banks with the most popular being Shinsei Bank, Japan Post Bank, Mizuho Bank, Resona Bank, and SMBC Trust Bank (please see the useful links at the end this article). Once you have chosen which bank you would like to use, you must go to your local branch to set up your new bank account.

 Good to know:

Depending on the bank and the area of your branch, you may need to speak in Japanese to set up your account, however, there are some banks and areas with English translation services.

Documents needed to open a bank account

There is usually no opening fee for Japanese bank accounts, and initial deposits do not need to be high.

In order to open a bank account in Japan you must bring your:

  • Residence Card
  • Your address in Japan (sometimes proof of address is also required)
  • Phone number
  • Passport and Visa
  • Hanko (signature seal) if you have one (if you do not have one, a hand signature is required)

At the bank you will also be asked whether you are involved with any criminal organisations. This question is required by law and is asked to anyone opening a new bank account.

After you have provided the aforementioned documents you must choose your private PIN number (entered onto a small machine privately). You will be given a passbook that includes your new account number, sort code, and your name. This passbook can be used at ATM’s to withdraw and deposit money, and to perform bank transfers much like a debit card. You may also be given the option of a cash card (only usable at ATMs), which will be sent separately to your home address.

 Good to know:

Some, but not all banks also offer online banking. This requires an application form that can be made at your bank and for most banks cannot be set up online.

Your new bank account

Once your account is opened you can use it to withdraw and deposit money, send money domestically and internationally through bank transfers, and can use your account number and sort code to have payments deposited and withdrawn directly to and from your account.

 Useful Links

Shinsei Bank
Japan Post Bank
Mizuho Bank
Resona Bank
SMBC Trust Bank

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Member since 01 June 2008
Small earth, Mauritius
3 years ago

how does one obtain a residence card in japan?? I have a Nepali friend, he is struggling because he is told he cant get work without a bank account, and cant get a bank account... Do you need a bank account in order to get work?? How do people get around this?

3 years ago

Wait, Can't I just withdraw money at an ATM from my foreign debit card?

7 years ago

Actually, an inkan is required to open a bank account in Japan. Also, you won't receive a "debit card," Japan doesn't use debit - they use cash. You will receive a cash card solely for withdrawing money from an ATM (or depositing). You can also do bank transfers through an ATM. The only way you can transfer money abroad is through a wire transfer, postal transfer or a company like GoLloyds. The latter is the cheapest and easiest option - you sign up for an account and transfer money from the ATM to GoLloyds, and they remit the money home. It's good to have someone with you to open an account at a bank. Keep in mind that banks are usually only open until 3 or 4 p.m., and that ATMs charge fees on weekends and after-hours.


See also

According to Japanese customs, certain items are duty-free, others can be imported with restrictions, some are prohibited and some require a declaration.
Japan has a lot to offer expats. If you are trying to find a job in the country, knowledge of local customs and some Japanese will certainly be helpful.
As a leading global city, Tokyo has many job opportunities for expats, particularly in the hi-tech, finance and service sectors.
Yokohama, capital city of the Kanagawa Prefecture, is a maritime region. Its economy is centred on its port, which has job opportunities for expats.
Fukuoka is an important harbour city in Japan and the economic centre of Kyushu Island. Expats can find jobs in manufacturing, services and high tech.

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