Japanese banks

Opening a bank account in Japan

Though international banks such as Citibank and HSBC do business in Japan, most Japanese people use domestic banks like Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and Mizuho Bank. Savings accounts can also be opened at most post offices through a branch of the Japanese postal service, Japan Post Bank.

Most Japanese banks are open from 9:00-15:00, Monday through Friday, except for national holidays and New Year celebrations. They offer a full range of services: savings, current, and foreign currency accounts are all available.

Most Japanese banks do not require a minimum balance to open an account. However, they sometimes charge monthly fees if the account balance does not remain above a certain figure.

You can make arrangements to pay most of your bills directly from your account, which is the most common method of bill payment in Japan. This way, you will receive statements at home while avoiding the hassle of paying at offices or supermarkets.

Opening a bank account in Japan

To open a Japanese bank account you need your alien registration card, passport, and your inkan (official ink seal), not to mention money to deposit in the account. You cannot open a bank account if you are staying in Japan as a tourist (less than 90 days).

You will have to complete an application form and make an initial deposit, after which your account will be established.At that point, you can apply for a debit card (kyasshu kado) and PIN number (ansho bango).

If you open a savings account, do not expect to earn much off the interest. Japanese banks maintain low interest rates on all their accounts, as they do with loans. There are certain time-specific savings accounts that provide slightly higher rates, but restrictions are usually applied to the frequency and amounts of withdrawals. Check with your bank for more information.

Post office savings accounts

For a convenient alternative to mainstream banking, you can open a savings account at your local post office. This gives you access to your money at any post office in Japan, not to mention most ATMs.

Unlike major bank accounts, post office accounts are available to tourists. All you need to open one of these accounts is a valid passport and a mailing address.

It will be difficult, if not impossible to communicate with post office staff in English when opening an account. If you do not speak Japanese, make sure you have a Japanese friend or a pocket phrasebook handy when you go to open your account.

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