How to Pay A Bill In Japan

By Donnie | Articles

I have a short, money-matter post for your today. But why would it be short when it’s a finance-related post? Well, the reason this a shorter money-matters post is because it’s SUPER EASY to pay your bills in Japan. From Japanese utility bills to internet to tax payments, taking care of those recurring Japanese bills is as easy as one, two, three…um…four. There aren’t a whole lot of complicated steps required. So we’re just going to dive right into this one.

You’ll get a bill in the mail, whether it’s gas, lights, water, etc.. For this particular example I’m going to use my internet bill from NTT Communications. When you open the bill,


Your bill will probably have more numbers than this. I had to blot out a few things. The red boxes show the amount due 4,514円 the consumption tax 192円 (4706円 total), and the due date which is Augst 5th, 2011 (that 23年, represents the year. It's a special dating system that is used here in Japan, but it means 2011...I'll tell you about it in a later post).

Most bills will have the amount due listed in two places on your bill, once in the bill’s main section, and once on the payment stub area, which will be detached a little later. If you’re confused about where to look, Just look for the yen kanji, en or 円, and you should be able to locate it pretty quickly.


Any convenience store will do

All convenience stores, and I do mean all the ones that I’ve ever been to, have the ability to accept nearly every type of Japanese bill you can think of. You can tear the stubs yourself, but if you’re not sure, why mess it up? Just take the paper out of the envelope and give it to the clerk. You honestly don’t have to say a single, solitary word.


Thanks Mr. Clerk for letting me use your hands. Nice guy.

A closer look at the three stubs. See the three blanks at the bottom? That's where the stamps go.

After you’ve handed everything to the clerk, and paid the amount due, just wait briefly. The clerk will put a dated stamp on your stub in three different places. Most bill stubs are perforated, and the clerk will do the tearing and all of that good stuff. He or she will keep two of the stamped stubs, and give you one (one copy is for you, one is for the convenience store’s records, and the other is of course for the company that’s billing you).


The stamped stub is proof that you paid your bill on the date shown. I’ve never had a problem with a company saying I didn’t pay my bill, but it’s good to keep it just in case.

Your proof of payment

What Happens If You Miss Your Payment Due Date?

Unfortunately, missing a utilities bill payment it’s not as simple as if you miss a rent payment in Japan, which is quite odd. I have never done it, but I’ve seen it happen to a couple of buddies. If I’m not mistaken, the procedure is to go to the office of the company to whom you are making the payment. You can then make your payment there. I can’t say for sure if any late fees are assessed but I don’t think so.

What Happens If You Lose Your Bill But It’s Still Prior To Your Due Date?

Hmm…good question. Well, I’m going to take a stab in the dark on this one. It’s a little tougher, because you’ll probably need someone with decent Japanese to help you (unless yours is already pretty good 😉 ). Just call up the company (I’m sure you can find the number on the internet) and request another bill.

Easy enough?

Thanks for checking out today’s post!


Donald Ash

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  • Huyen says:

    Hi! I am a bit confused about my utility bill. In order to pay your bill at the convenience store, there needs to be some sort of bar code that the cashier can scan right? I got my water bill (I think… it’s a thin slip that looks like this but there’s no barcode.

    I got a slip for my electric usage but a real bill with a barcode came a day or so later. Will I get one for my water bill? Thanks! (p.s. I wish I had found your site earlier, would have saved me some trouble… some really useful stuff!)

    • Donald Ash says:

      Hi Huyen,

      You should end up getting a bill for your water bill as well. I don’t know why they send out those slips in advance but the same thing happens to me. I tried taking one of those slips to the convenience store early on, and I couldn’t make the payment. You’re totally right, the real bill comes later.

      Thanks for stopping by to read and to post 🙂

  • Kayla says:

    Wow, that does seem remarkably simple. Much more so than paying bills here!

  • Amoy says:

    Hi, I went to the combini to pay a gas bill the other day but the cashier stated that it needs to be paid at the ATM. I have no idea how to do this, are you familiar with the steps?

    • Donald Ash says:

      Hi Amoy! Sorry for the late reply. Hmm…paying a bill at the ATM, huh? If you don’t mind me asking is this a rent payment? That’s the only bill I’ve ever paid from an ATM, but after my initial payment, it was automatically drafted. I had to get help on that one. I had to set up a new payee on my account to allow me to transfer money to them. Other than that though, I’ve never paid a bill via the ATM. I’m a little stumped on this one. Anyone have any experience similar to Amoy’s? How did you fix it?

  • Kally Mullett says:

    I’m just wondering if they’re any konbini that accept AMEX to pay electric/residence bills?


    • Donald Ash says:

      Hi Kally, I’ve never tried paying my bills with a card before. But I will ask the next time I’m in the convenience store to see what they say. GREAT QUESTION!

  • Grace says:

    Hi, I was curious if there are bills that DON’T have a barcode? Or bills that you can’t pay at a connivence store?

    • Donald Ash says:

      Hi Grace! I honestly haven’t come across any. Now if you’re late paying a bill, they generally make you go to the company to pay it. The late notice you get in the mail wont’ have a barcode. Hope that helps a bit.

  • Jade Larson says:

    I have been living in Japan for 2 years and your blogs are the most helpful!! You rock Donald, Thank You for taking the time to post all of this stuff!!

  • 石川彩奈 says:

    Hello, I’m planning to live in Tokyo and can I pay for ALL my bills online (I prefer this method, so know any banks that do this?)? Or do I have to do it your way of visiting stores and handing them my bills? (which I don’t really mind). Thanks 🙂

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