How to open a bank account in Japan: Required documents

Yumiko Kijima
16.09.21
2 minute read

If you’re considering opening a bank account in Japan you’re in the right place. This guide covers the documents you need, the basic process to follow, and some banks to check out.

We’ll also introduce the Wise multi-currency account - the international account for people without borders.

wise-account-illustration

How to open a bank account in Japan

Japanese banks may require foreigners to have lived in Japan for at least 6 months to be able to open bank accounts. But Japan Post Bank, for example, accepts applications from foreign residents who have lived in Japan for less than that.

If you need to send, receive and spend money in Japan and cannot wait for 6 months, you may consider an alternative like Wise multi-currency account, which you can register in minutes⏱

Required documents

Here’s common required documents for foreign residents to open bank accounts in Japan:¹

  • Residence card (zairyu card)
  • Passport
  • Proof of address, such as a utility bill in your name
  • Your Hanko (personal seal) - a signature may be accepted in some cases
  • Japanese mobile number
  • (Student ID card if you have it)

Steps of opening a bank account in Japan

  • Visit your local bank branch
  • Fill in the application form (take a friend if you can’t speak Japanese yet😌)
  • Usually you can get your passbook immediately
  • Your bank card will arrive a few days later by mail

It’s worth noting that some banks now allow online or even in app account opening processes for eligible customers. This can be easier than visiting your local branch, so see if your preferred bank has this service.

Bank branch opening hours

If you’re opening an account with a traditional bank, opening hours are usually 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday. Public holidays may mean your bank branch services are not available.

Useful Japanese banking words

EnglishJapanese
Transfer振込(furikomi)
International transfer海外送金(kaigai soukin)
Withdrawal引き出し(hikidashi)
Passbook通帳(tsuuchou)
Deposit預金(yokin) or 預ける(azukeru)

Opening a bank account in Japan as a non-resident?

Most Japanese banks require you to be a resident if you want to open a bank account. Even if you can open a bank account as a non-resident, what you can do with the account will be probably pretty limited compared to the usual account.¹

Which Japanese bank should you choose?

BankBest feature
MUFGJapan’s largest bank - with plenty of account options to save, spend and invest
SMBCAnother large, trusted bank
Japan Post BankPopular with foreign customers - full range of financial products and services to choose from
Sony BankOffers multi-currency accounts and has English website and account opening process
Rakuten BankBiggest online bank in Japan - apply online or using your phone, with English language account registration available
Wise (not a bank)Free mobile and online multi-currency accounts for 50+ currencies - up to 14x cheaper to make an international transfer compared to major Japanese banks
Read also Guide to the best bank for foreigners in Japan

Beware of banks’ international transfer fees

One important point for most expats is the cost of international transfers. Chances are that you’ll still need to send and receive money internationally from time to time - and that can be expensive. Banks often have both an upfront transfer fee and a markup added to the mid-market exchange rates available for retail customers, which adds up quickly. Let’s take a look:

true cost of international transfers

For people without borders: Wise💡

wise-mobile-jp

Need a better way to send and receive cross border payments? Meet Wise.

Open a free online Wise multi-currency account to get international transfers which can be up to 14x cheaper than some Japanese banks. You’ll also get your own local receiving account details for major foreign currencies including USD, EUR, GBP, SGD, AUD, NZD and more, so you can get paid fee free no matter where you call home.

Use your Wise account to hold 50+ currencies and switch between them using the real mid-market exchange rate with no markups and no sneaky fees. There’s just a low, transparent charge per transaction. You’ll also have a Wise debit card you can use for spending all over the world.

The Wise website and app are available in 15 languages including English, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and Cantonese🌎.👩‍💻

Join the 10 million+ people and businesses using Wise already - and see how Wise customers save a total of 1 billion GBP a year compared to using their regular banks.

Open a free account now🚀

Summary

Opening a bank account in Japan isn’t difficult - but it might not be a familiar process if you’re new to the country. Use this guide to start your research and find the perfect account for your needs. And don’t forget - for international transactions and currency conversion, you could save with a free online Wise multi-currency account.

wise-account-illustration


Source

  1. 外国人が銀行口座を開設する方法【おすすめ銀行も】

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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