I would like you all to imagine that you’re in Japan, excited for a new chapter of your life. You want to get a credit card, send money to Japan from your country, and start working. However, there’s one thing that’s necessary to get all these done: you need to have a bank account in Japan. But how do you do that? Where should you go and who should you talk to? All these questions will be answered here.

Three ways to open a bank account

It depends on each bank, but there most common ways of opening a bank account are: in person and via mail. But these days, more and more banks are encouraging their applicants to use the banks’ own apps to open an account. The fastest way is going to a bank and having the application done in person, which can be done within a day. Using an app takes about a week, and mailing your application takes about a couple of weeks. 

How it works: in person

Going to a bank might be the best option because you can ask bank tellers for help if you get confused with the process. Also, it can be done pretty quickly if you have everything you need. What you need to bring is your passport, visa or resident card. You also probably need some money to deposit and a hanko (Japanese seal). The amount of money varies depending on which bank you choose. Typically, this can be as little as 1,000 yen. As for a hanko, some banks accept your signature in case you do not have a hanko. By the way, even though Japan is one of the most te

chnologically advanced countries in the world, still a lot of official documentations require a hanko, and having your own hanko makes your life much easier here. So add “getting my own hanko” on your to do list in Japan! 

You do not have to call a bank and make a reservation beforehand; however, each bank’s requirement for foreign people to open an account varies. So it is better to call them or check their websites to see if you are eligible or what you will need to bring before heading over. At the bank, fill out an application form in Japanese. Most banks will require you to to write everything by yourself in Japanese. According to a friend of mine, it was one of the hardest things for her to write all the kanji for her address. If a bank lets you, you can ask your spouse or friend to fill out a part of the form for you. Once you finish filling out the form, submit it with money to deposit and any identification the bank requires you to submit. In ten minutes or so, the account will be established and you will get tsuuchou, or a bank book, and a cash card.

As for the other two methods of mailing in the application or submitting it electronically, the requirements differ from one bank to another. It is encouraged to contact them beforehand to check what you need to open an account.

Different types of accounts

There are several different types of accounts, and here are the main two:

  • Futsuu yokin/tsuujou chokin: A checking account. You can withdraw or deposit money in this account at ATMs. 
  • Teiki yokin/teiki chokin: A savings account. You need to go to a bank to withdraw or deposit money in this type of account. The money you have deposited in this account is not expected to be withdrawn for a certain period, such as half a year, a year, and three years depending on options your bank offers. In return, interest rates of this type of account is higher than of futsuu yokin accounts. In fact, you can withdraw the money anytime you would like, but if you do before the certain period, the same as or lower than those of futsuu yokin.

As for your first account in Japan, I recommend you to open a futsuu yokin because it is a most common account. 

Make an account soon if you can

Opening an account in Japan can be very simple if you have everything prepared. And once you open an account, you can apply for a credit card, and transfer money from your country. You can also start working for companies that pay you directly into your bank account. Having an account will make your life in Japan easier. So when you get here, the sooner you open an account, the better.


  • There are three ways to open a bank account: in person, online, and via mail
  • There are two main types of bank accounts: futsuu yokin and teiki yokin
  • You need some documents and usually your own hanko to open an account