How To Open A Japanese Bank Account

By Donald Ash | Japanese Money Matters

Your bank account is the crux of nearly all of your day-to-day financial dealings, regardless of the country you live in.
Let's look at how to open a Japanese bank account - specifically how to open a Japan Post bank account.

We'll examine three different parts of opening your Japan Post bank account:

  1. Where to go
  2. What you need to bring
  3. The Paperwork
How To Open a Japanese Bank Account

Why Do I Need A Japanese Bank Account?


Keep in mind that most Japanese employers will pay you via direct deposit.  In addition, my rent has ALWAYS been deducted directly from my bank account.  With rent, this isn't always the case - Japanese share houses can be cash-based.However, if you want to live in your own place, odds are you'll need a Japanese bank account to do so.

If you're just visiting Japan, I don't see a huge need to open an account here.  But if you're here long-term,
a year or longer, you'll need one.  To be able to make money, save money, transfer money, pay rent,
and do a slew of other financial dealings here in Japan, your Japanese bank account is an essential.



Where To Go

To open up a Japan Post bank account, you can go to your nearest Japan Post Bank (aka JP Bank).  Many of the Japan Post offices have both an area to mail & ship items and a Japan Post bank services area.  However, not all of them do. To know of if the branch that you’re going to has both, just look for this logo:


JP Bank Logo

and you’ll know you’re in the right place.


What You Need to Bring

Whether you choose to open a Japanese bank account with the Japan Post, Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho or (any other Japanese bank), the info you need bring with you will be about the same. Please bring:

  • Two forms of personal identification
  • Your Residence Card
  • Your Passport and/or your public health insurance card
    (I had private health insurance when I signed up with JP Bank, so I just used my Residence Card and Passport and it worked out just fine.)
  • The money you want to deposit
  • Your address and phone number
  • Your Hanko or personal name stamp (optional)

The Paperwork

How To Open A Japanese Bank Account - Japan Post Paperwork

The primary form you have to fil out to get your Japan Post account. Only one page 🙂

How To Open Japanese Bank Account - Paperwork

1. 種類 (しゅるい | Shurui)
ACCOUNT TYPE

You have two choices here. You can either go with number1。通常 (つうじょう or Tsujo)- the general account or with number2。貯蓄 (Chochiku or ちょちく) - the savings account. With the first account you can deposit and withdraw as you please. But bear in mind with the second account, interest rates change depending on your balance and it can’t be used for direct deposit (salary) nor for automatic payments.

2. 送金機能 (そうきんきのう| Sokinkino)
REMITTANCE FEATURE

Shading in this box enables the remittance function for your new account.

3. 基準額 (きじゅんがく| Kijungaku)
STANDARD LIMIT

What do you want your deposit limit to be? When I signed up, I set my deposit limit as ten million yen.
Has my account ever even gotten much money? No way! But it’s nice to have options, should you ever need them.

4. お預け入れ金額 (おあずけいれきんがく| Oazukeire Kingaku).
DEPOSIT AMOUNT

This box is for the amount of your first deposit. I’m not exactly sure what the minimum deposit can be, but I know it’s pretty low. I think I deposited 1000 yen on my first deposit.

5. おところ | Otokoro
ADDRESS

There is a space for フリガナ (furigana) which are the kana (hiragana and katakana) corresponding the the kanji in your address. There is also a space for 漢字 or かんじ (kanji). If you don’t know how to write your address. If you give your Alien Registration Card to the clerk and say “Tetsudatte kudasai.” The clerk will fill in this part for you.

6. おなまえ | Onamae
NAME

Just like section number five, there’s a space for furigana (フリガナ) and for kanji (漢字). I entered my name’s katakana in the top, smaller, boxes and the printed, block letters in the larger boxes below. I entered my last name first. ASH, DONALD

7. お届け印 (おとどけいん | Otodokein)。確認印 (かくにんいん | Kakunin)
STAMPS

This area is where you will use your official seal, your hanko or your inkan. I don’t know the major differences between the otodokein and the kakunin, but my hanko was just fine. Even if you don’t have a hanko, you can just sign here, and it will be okay.


8. 生年月日 (せいねんがっぴ | Seinengappi)
BIRTHDATE

WAIT! Before you rush and fill this out, please note that this is will be written in the Japanese imperial year format.
元号 (げんごう or gengo) refers to the different era names that your birthday falls into.

This system is based on Japanese imperial reign. The four options are 1. 明治 (めいじ or Meiji), 2. 大正 (たいしょう or Taisho),
3. 昭和 (しょうわ or Showa), and 4. 平成 (へいせい or Heisei).
I would imagine that very soon these forms will be updated to include the newest era of imperial reign 5. 令和 (れいわ or Reiwa)

In the interest of time. This is another one you can ask the clerk to do. Write your birthdate on a separate sheet of paper and show it to him or her. They will be able to write in the imperial date for you.

9. キャッシュサービス
CASH CARD SERVICE

Okay, nothing too tough here. Just chose one of the following:
1. 通帳 (つうちょう or tsuchou) . カード(card)- You want both a bank book and a card.
2. カード -You only want the card
利用しない (りようしない or riyoshinai)- You don’t want to use this service.
I personally chose option one.

10. キャッシュサービス デビト 機能 (きゃしゅさーびすでびときのう | Kyashu Sa-bisu Debito kino)
DEBIT CARD FEATURE

If you select option 1. 利用する (りようする or riyosuro) you opt in to this service. You will be able to withdraw and transfer funds to the Account of Japan Debit Card Promotion Council. With the cash card you receive, you will be able to use this cash card at member stores and shops affiliated with the Promotion Council. Honestly I had a hard time navigating through this part on my own so I opted not to use it. I chose option 2. 利用しない (りようしない or riyoshinai) which means I choose not to use this service.

11.カード種類 (かーどしゅるい | Ka-do Shurui)
CARD TYPE

Here, you choose the type of card that you want.

2. SUICA付カード (SUICAつきかーど or SUICA Tsukika-do)
This is a cash card with a linked SUICA feature. I chose not to do this because I can’t use this type of Suica for commuter passes, which I use almost every month.

8.JPBANK カード (JPBANKKa-do)
This is like a credit card, and I just decided not to even get into that in Japan. Plus there’s an application process and subsequent time lag involved.

9.一般カード (いっぱんka-do)
This is a regular cash card.

I chose option 9 or the regular cash card, which I received in about a week-and-a-half to two weeks after doing my application.

12. 暗証番号必須取り扱い (あんしょうばんごうひっすとりあつかい | Anshobango Hissu Toriatsukai)
PIN NUMBER SERVICE

This is asking if whether or not you want to use a pin number service for in-person withdrawals:
You can choose to 1. 申し込む (もうしこむ or moushikomu) apply.
Or option 9. 申し込まない (もうしこまない or moshikomanai) not to apply.

I chose option one since I will already know my own pin number. It’s just an added security measure.

13. ボランティア
DONATIONS 

Almost there, everybody. This section asks if you want to donate money to 1. a general volunteer organization (全般 (ぜんぱん or zenpan)), 2. an environmental organization (環境(かんきょう or kankyo)), or 9. 申し込まない (もうしこまない or Moshikomanai)- you don’t plan to donate.
A percentage of your interest (I think my job said it was 20%) will be donated.

14. 性別 (せいべつ | Seibetsu)
GENDER

You only have to worry about filling this one out if you chose the Suica option in field number ten.

The Wrap-Up

That’s how to open a Japanese bank account.  Don't worry, it doesn’t take as long to open as you might think.

Once you’ve turned this in, you just have to wait for your debit card to arrive in the mail.  If I’m not mistaken, I walked out of the Japan Post with bank book in hand when I was done.

Remember, whether you open a Japan Post bank account, an account with Mizuho Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ, or some other Japanese bank, the registration process is going to be very similar.  If you struggle at all, or if you think you’re going to have a hard time, taking someone who can translate is always a good plan.

One More Thing...

I made a guide just for you! Check out these essential Japanese expressions to better understand how to communicate about money and banking.  No email required. Just click the book cover to open/download your PDF. ENJOY!

Grab Your Guide to Common Japanese Money and Banking Expressions
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About the Author

Donald Ash is an Atlanta, Georgia-born, American expat who has been living in a Japanese time warp for the last eleven years. While in that time warp, he discovered that he absolutely loves writing, blogging, and sharing. Donald is the creator of thejapanguy.com blog. Wanna know more about this guy? Check out his "What's Your Story" page.

  • Petaris says:

    Good job on the instructions! Its nice to have these things explained so its not such a daunting task when others go to do it. 🙂

  • Madness says:

    Thank you very much!!!

    Last year I did mine, but didn’t understand some places, so now thanks to you I completely understand 😀 (specially the parte on deposit limit, I ended telling the banker like: what’s your recommendation and he told me as you said xD)

  • Junglecom says:

    I have been told by other banks that I must live in Japan for at least 6 months before I can make and account. Was this your case also?

    • Donald Ash says:

      No actually, I got my account the second week I was in Japan. I don’t know if it’s because the company helped me get set up, but I don’t think so. When I signed up for the Japan Post account it wasn’t even a question. There are other ALTs who have been here for less that six who have accounts, too. Hmm, I wonder what that’s about.

      • Tasha says:

        My husband opened his account the second week too, we just had to wait for the Alien Registration Cards to be issued (as they were back then). So, I think the delay is just you need to have proof of residency, i.e. you’re not on a visitor 90day visa.

    • computermacgyver says:

      I think you have to be planning to stay in the country for a minimum of six months (i.e. have a visa that allows you stay at least six months)

  • seb says:

    Hey, amazing site you have, and article about the japanese post bank. Sure this has (and will) helped many foreigners out there!
    I have opened an account recently, but am now abroad, and have several questions I would like to ask them. I have found no e-mail contact address nor customer contact possibilities on their website. Do you know the best way to get in touch with them? Is there a contact address I missed somewhere? Thanks!

  • jmaeshawn says:

    “4. お預け入れ金額 (おあずけいれきんがく or Oazukeire Kingaku). DEPOSIT AMOUNT:
    This box is for the amount of your first deposit. I’m not exactly sure what the minimum deposit can be, but I know it’s pretty low. I think I deposited 1000 yen on my first deposit.”

    I just opened my bank account at JP Bank, and the woman at the counter told me there is no minimum deposit. She said told me they could open it with even a zero starting balance.

    • Donald Ash says:

      I guess having a zero deposit limit makes things even easier. Thanks for the info James, I appreciate that 🙂

    • Tasha says:

      you can open the account with no money in it, it’s ok. Well at least it was for my husband and I when we opened our accounts. But perhaps that is it you tell them its for a salary.

  • LaShawn says:

    Great article! I opened a JP account last year with the help of a friend, but didn’t know if it was a regular or savings account. Thanks to your explanation above I now know that it is a regular account. I do have one question: is it possible to open more than one account? I would like to have another account to set aside money for savings. Do you think it’ll be okay with JP for me to have two?

  • rose says:

    My friend said that if you open a JPBank account, you automatically receive a credit card. He said you can make a cash withdrawal of up to 100,000yen and a 200,000 yen worth of purchase. How true is this?

  • keshiaT says:

    Thank you sooo much for helping us open a bank account today!!! 🙂

  • Tasha says:

    Hi, they might also ask you the reason for opening the bank account – ryu something – its the box at the bottom on the left. This was the thing that stumped my husband and I both times and both times the Japanese clerk had some difficulty explaining what it meant, so perhaps you could update your guide? I just used it to open my account – very helpful!! 😀

  • Hi 🙂 Thanks a lot for your information. I was wondering if it is possible to use the Japan Post bank overseas?

    • thejapanguy says:

      Glad I could help, Nicole. Good question. Not that I am aware of. I know you can get a card linked to your account when you’re signing up, so maybe that card gives you the ability to use your account anywhere. As far as international transfers through an atm, though, they told me I couldn’t. But I’m sure that will change (if it hasn’t already).

  • Maik says:

    Hello! I am very happy that people are into the culture of japan and knows more than us! LOL
    I really like my culture and i am glad there are telling more over people about the greatness of Japan!
    Thank you very much!
    And BTW, this article helped me a lot!
    Thank you again!

  • Maik says:

    Forgot to say this but
    I LOVE THE SITE!
    i hope you would put more info!
    THX

  • jen says:

    hi, how long did it take to get your card? I need to get an account asap but I’ll just be staying in a temporary place for 2 weeks. i guess i could put down a friend’s address just in case?

  • Logan5 says:

    I went to JP to get a bank account. They put a stamp into my passbook “非居住者” which means I am a non-resident. My company will not deposit any salary on a bank account which says that. My Korean housemate does not have that stamp, JP would not answer why that is. For me, this is a mess. It was hard enough to open that damn thing, now I have to go to a different bank because JP will not remove the stamp before I have stayed in the country for six months. That is despite the fact that I do have a residency card which is valid for another year. Just thought you guys should know..

    • Logan5 says:

      I wanted to add that I tried UFJ bank next, they gave me the X. Said I need to be in the country for at least 6 months or provide them with an employee card so they can set my account free to receive salary deposits.

  • Vero says:

    I have an account with yuucho ginko, i would like to know how I can check my account on internet, i tried to login in the bank website but they ask for some 6 digits password, do you know how it works? thank you!!

  • Angelica says:

    Thank you, David. I just came from the bank lugging my computer ’cause I had to check and see if I’m filling out the right boxes, and I did. I just got my bankbook and am just for the card. This blog was really helpful. Thanks again.

  • Thomas says:

    Hi, I am from Europe (Czech Republic). I would like open bank account anywhere in Japan. Can I do It by some Japan internet banking? I will send any scanned dokuments (passport, proof of income, bank report/listing from bank in Europe, etc..) and deposit by international payment (IBAN). Thanks for advice
    Tom

  • Kobuta says:

    Konnichi wa.
    Thank you for these information cause recently i struggle a lot opening an account in japan. My main problem is that i will go for a working holiday and won’t have a static adresse. Do you know how i can avoid problems with the Japan Post bank?

    doumo arigatou, Kobuta

  • chinmizushima says:

    thank you for this. i just open mine today. the japanese guy is so cool and tried his best to speak english. we laugh so much at the bank. he also offered me this credit card for under 30 years old folks. he said il get credit card plus debit card. i dont know what is he talking about. he said to wait for about a month. i dont think i will able to get that credit card though, but it was fun signing up and talking to him. he is really good. it was a fun experience!

  • Mm says:

    Thanks for the nice site. I keep on looking for answers on how will I have a PayPal in Japan. I need to pay something in the internet but the only methods they have is through credit cards and also Paypal only. I do not have bank account, credit cards nor Paypal. But I really would love to get over and done things with PayPal as they instruct me to. Please advice me on how will I ever have a Paypal in Japan as soon ASAP as I am really working on it for the last 6 days and methods of payments are all new to me as I haven’t have any experience of any of it all. Thank you for time and effort.

  • Ivan says:

    Hi, does anyone know the JP Bank Swift Code?

  • Aldene911 says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • jezZ says:

    am new here ^_^

    I have read in a certain website that when you open an account in some banks in Japan, you still need to wait 6 months before a remittance from abroad can be transferred. Is this true? Then which banks allows immediate remittance after issuance of an account? Thanks

  • ultish says:

    Hi,

    I’ve just arrived in Japan on a Working Holiday Visa which expires in 6 months, after which I intend to apply for another 6 month extension. Anyway, I tried looking at Shinsei Bank but as of July 2014, they require applicants to show a “period of stay” of > 1 year, which my visa obviously doesn’t. Is this a new requirement at banks? Or just at Shinsei? I guess I could just go check it out at Japan Post >_<

  • Rose says:

    Hi thanks a lot for your information, and do you know if there are any agencies regarding taxes from working in Japan if your a US citizen. Any info given will help. Thanks

  • Marco says:

    hi… I just opened a JP account and received a cash card, this is the account that I was asked to open for my job in Hakuba… I just wondered if there is any online services at all?? I would like to at the very least view my balance online

  • Laurien612 says:

    A silly question but I will be opening up a Japanese bank account remotely. My passport has my first, middle and last names but I signed it only with my first and last. How important is it to match the signature exactly as shown on my passport or is it ok to sign it the way my passport was issued?

  • Gonzalo Take says:

    hi.I stay in chiba ken. I am peruvian people. spanish in my tongue. Looking for karaoke russian Singer elena vaenga
    and chinese soprano peng liyuan.

  • Mrinal Deo says:

    Thanks for the info.

    Opened a Japan Post Account today after reading this!!
    I was facing problems in other banks due to the Six Months rule.
    I cannot use the remittance service until I have lived here for at least six months but that won`t be problem.

    I can now get a phone here finally.

  • Becca says:

    Thank you for this! It was awesome!
    I used this guide today.
    The form has changed a little bit but all of the same information is on it.
    There was no English support – so talking to the staff in Japanese was a must and also the booklet they gave with the terms and conditions was all Japanese.
    Interesting news – they told me that there isn’t much difference between the current account and savings account anymore. The current account interest is 0.3% but the savings account is only 0.35%.
    They also asked me if I had a year left on my visa or not when checking my ID.

  • Meg says:

    Hello! I have been Japan three months now on a working holiday visa, I was wondering if you require a phone number to open up this account? I have tried to get a Japanese call/SMS sim however you need to have a bank account to do so and my only option is a data sim, it’s a catch 22!

    • Jacuzzi says:

      Its crazy right?

      I had to purchase a rental phone in order to get a bank account!

    • Kyōto Bōken says:

      It’s frustrating, I know!

      I got a Skype Number for opening my bank account in Japan. You can get a Japanese phone number for 3 months for about $25. Once I opened the bank account and got a regular phone, I changed the phone number on file at the bank and cancelled the Skype subscription.

      A rental phone may also work (and be cheaper) but I liked having the Skype option for 3 months in case I needed it when starting up in Japan.

  • Wai Kuong Lau says:

    THANKS for your info ! Just one question: Do you have to do anything after you recieve your card?? like activating it somewhere or anything like that?

    Thanks again

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  • james says:

    can i open an account via internet?

  • Yoga says:

    Thank’s a lot !!

  • jsimm says:

    Japan Post Bank is by far the worst banking experience I’ve ever had. Horribly slow and inefficient.

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  • Jacuzzi says:

    This was really helpful, I just came to Japan a week ago, and was turned away by so many banks up till today.
    What I have found is that a lot of the process has changed since you wrote this blog.
    I was able to get my cash card the same day and the application was in full English, which I found to be quite surprising and helpful at the same time!

    Any how, thanks again.

    • Sandra says:

      thanks for this piece of information – what bank did you go with?

      • Jacuzzi says:

        Shinsei Bank.

        I went to the Honten Branch, and they were very helpful.

        Downsides:

        I do not know if this applies to all banks in Japan or just shinsei,
        but the cash card that they provide you with is only useful for withdrawing money and nothing more.

        Also I would recommend signing up with an inkan (personal stamp) as it will allow you to get away with simply filling out a form in places which exclusively accept cards, such as ‘247 Fitness’.

        You can get a decent inkan from Tokyu Hands or any local craft shops.

  • Mel says:

    Hi! I just owned my JP bank and now, a week later have been locked out of my account and cannot even log onto Internet banking. It was working fine all this week and then suddenly would not let me withdraw even though plenty of funds are available. I am going in first thing Monday, but being locked out of my funding with no emergency number to call to right whatever is going on makes me very untrustworthy of this bank. Were you ever locked out? Any ideas what might have caused it? Thanks!

  • Amanda says:

    Thanks for the information. I didn’t realize that getting an account at a Japanese bank could be so hard, but after having the worst time ever trying to open an account at Resona, I decided to do some research and this definitely helped.

  • Mogusaurus says:

    I’d stay away from post offices for banking. They are very foreigner UN-friendly. (In fact they are downright discriminatory) They issue bankbooks for new accounts immediately for a Japanese but if your are a foreigner (permanent resident) you have to wait because they need to check to make sure you are not “money laundering”. *lol*

  • Leo says:

    What about the address? I’m pretty stucked… To get a SIM card I need an address, to get an apartment I need a japanese number and a japanese bank account, to get a bank account I also need an address… How do you start here?

  • Mike Craig says:

    Fyi, I am opening my JP Bank account right now, the guide is correct, however, now you are also required to provide a TIN (tax identification number) or they will decline the account. I don’t have a TIN, but they did some research and said I can provide my Social security number instead, so I very reluctantly gave my US SSN. You may want to add that in the guide. I wish I would have opened an account here 16yrs ago when I first arrived.

    • Bigger Faster says:

      Hi Mike,

      Yes, I have wondered if there are any banks in Japan that does not ask SSN from American for opening a new account. Are there?

      You didn’t open the account, right?

      I just thought about to open a Japan post account and thought they likely may ask me for my SSN.

      • Larissa Redditt says:

        I am having the same problem here in Japan. How did you solve it?

        • Bigger Faster says:

          I didn’t. There is no way you can get a new account in Japan NOW without giving out your SSN, unless you don’t use your US passport.

          • Larissa Redditt says:

            In my case, I don’t even have a SSN, because I was raised in another country… And I really need to open a bank account…

  • Manohar says:

    Thank you so much Donald for most useful information. Of course the form has changed a little now, please refer the attached reference.

  • Derrick says:

    i know that UFJ offers a Debit card now. And there are bilinguals that offer to meet newbies at the nearest bank to walk them through the bank set up process at Japan Post or any other bank in Tokyo. I found them on TripTasker.com

  • levi matthews says:

    First off thanks alot! This helped SO MUCH but I think they may have updated the layout of the form and the procedure since you posted this.

    After this form I had to fill out two more about how I planned to use the account and I had to provide my TIN.

    The form you posted about is now blue and things are placed in different locations. I could navigate it using the kanji you provided though. All in all, great post! Thanks again.

  • Jane says:

    Any chance any can tell me how to find what your account number is (as in, what do I need to tell my employer)? I have my cash card but not passbook yet.

  • Edson Souza says:

    Thanks for the information!
    Is it possible to create a “how-to” to create online account access?

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