Here’s all you need to know about opening a bank account in Japan and a detailed comparison of fees and services available with the most popular banks.

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1. General requirements for opening a bank account in Japan

While you can’t open an account if you are on a 90-day tourist visa, foreigners in Japan on other visa types, like a work or student visa, are eligible to open an account with most banks. Generally, you would open a futsu yokin, the Japanese term for a general deposit account. Here is the skinny on what you need to bring and how to do it.

Editor’s note: This article is intended only as a preliminary guide to banking in Japan. We try our best to keep all information up to date, however fees and details are subject to change at any time. Consult the official site of any financial institution for specific and up-to-date details. Use all financial services at your own risk.

Required documents

  • ID (some banks might accept a driver’s license or residence card, but bring your passport to be safe
  • Hanko – your personal seal (some foreigner-friendly banks accept your signature, see below)
  • A small amount of cash for the initial deposit (from 1,000 yen)
  • Juminhyo — certificate of residence (including your “My Number”, the Japanese ID number)

Depending on the bank, the following might also be required

  • A recent utility bill showing your current address
  • A business card and contract may sometimes be required as proof of your place of employment
  • Tax identification number is sometimes required if it’s issued in your home country

How to apply

  • At the bank counter (most Japanese banks are open from 9 am to 3 pm, Monday to Friday, except for national and year-end holidays)
  • By phone (most banks offer this service in Japanese only, see below for exceptions)
  • Online
  • By mail (if you are so inclined)
japanese banking money wallet
Photo by iStock.com/BBuilder

2. Closing your account

If you are leaving Japan, here is what you need to close your account for good.

Required documents

  • ID (bring your passport to be safe, some banks might accept a driver’s license or residence card)
  • Your bankbook and cash card associated with your account
  • Hanko – your personal stamp (some foreigner-friendly banks may accept your signature, see below)

How to close your account

Generally only accepted at the bank counter.



3. Overview of Japan banks

shinsei bank card japan banks
Photo by Adriana Paradiso

Banks targeting foreigners in Japan

If you have not been in Japan for very long and/or do not have very good Japanese language skills, then these more international, or “foreigner-friendly”, banks may be your best option.

Shinsei Bank

Shinsei had long been every foreigner in Japan’s favorite bank. Recently it’s been knocked off its pedestal as it, along with many other banks in Japan, now requires that clients live in Japan for at least 6 months to open an account, in line with regulatory changes. If you can hold out that long, the pros include being able to open an account with your signature (not a hanko) as well as telephone and online banking in English and Japanese. Note: This waiting period can be waived if you are employed by a company in Japan. Recent experience by our Cheapo team suggests that Shinsei is still one of the easiest Japanese banks to get set up with, especially for new arrivals.

More about the 6-month wait: For detailed information on the waiting period mentioned above, we recommend contacting the banks you are interested in directly. Some Japanese banks may allow you to open a basic bank account that you can have your salary transferred into, and withdraw from, immediately—but put a 6-month waiting period in place before you can do any transfers from your account. That can be inconvenient if you’re needing to send money home.

Shinsei Bank sign
Shinsei Bank doesn’t have many branches, it’s basically an online bank. | Photo by Greg Lane

SMBC Prestia

SMBC Prestia Trust Bank is a bank with Japanese and English banking services. You won’t need a hanko to open an account, your signature will do. The biggest relief is probably that telephone and online banking is in English. They also offer the option of a savings account with a separate foreign currency account.

Japan Post Bank

Instead of the standard futsu account (general deposit account), many opt for a Post Bank savings account. JP Banks are very no frills in their banking, but the fees are generally low. They are welcoming to foreigners, and many branches, especially larger ones, will have English staff who can assist you.

Traditional Japanese banks

These are the largest and most well-known banks in Japan. Although they used to lag behind the likes of Shinsei and Prestia, most now have English online banking and surpass the smaller boutique banks in terms of service. For example, all the majors offer 24-hour/365-day-a-year real-time domestic transfers. With smaller banks, you might be limited to weekdays and business hours.

SMBC

This bank’s official name in English is Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), not to be confused with SMBC Prestia Trust Bank above, which is an off-shoot of this more traditional banking house. Their trust bank is more foreigner-friendly and generally more geared toward individual customers, but SMBC still has a lot to offer. They have a fully functional English language smartphone app (Prestia doesn’t!), and if you have any problems that you can’t resolve online, there’s probably a branch within a 15-minute walk of your apartment.

MUFG

MUFG is Japan’s largest bank and a global financial institution. English-speaking staff may be at your assistance, but don’t forget that hanko. Yet, it is still popular with a lot of international residents as many everyday services like withdrawals and in-bank transfers are free.

Mizuho

Mizuho is probably the most traditional domestic bank. Bring both your hanko and a Japanese speaker if you aren’t fluent.

Online banks

Some online banks have recently entered the Japanese market. Seven Bank (of 7-11 convenience store fame) is proving popular with foreigners.

Rakuten Bank is another notable option.

One that recently caught our attention is Sony Bank. While it has been around for a couple of years, it recently expanded its service to full English online banking and cheap or even free international remittances. Sony Bank allows you to hold multiple foreign currencies in one account, making it an ideal choice for international residents. The basic account is free and opening an account can be easily done online with just your residence card.

seven bank atm
Photo by Greg Lane

Beyond banking: In search of some plastic? Check out our guide to credit cards in Japan.

4. Fees and services comparison

Here is an overview of the most requested services by foreign residents, including the times and fees for cash withdrawals (ATMs can actually be closed during certain hours in Japan!), international transfers, and online banking.

ATM withdrawal fees

BankLocationsWeekday daytimeWeekday after hoursWeekend daytimeWeekend after hours
PrestiaAt SMBC trust bank or SMBC ATMsFreeService not availableFreeService not available 
SMBCAt SMBC ATMsFreeFreeFreeFree 
MUFG BankAt MUFG Bank ATMsFree110 yenFree110 yen 
MUFG BankAt MUFG Trust Bank ATMsFree110 yen110 yen110 yen
Japan Post BankAt Japan Post Bank ATMsFreeFreeFreeFree†No service on Sundays from 00:05 to 21:00
Rakuten BankAt partner bank ATMsFree up to 5 times a month†Free up to 5 times a month†Free up to 5 times a month†Free up to 5 times a month†Need to register for the “Happy Program” in advance
Shinsei BankAt partner bank ATMs110 yen110 yen110 yen110 yen 
Seven BankAt Seven Bank ATMs110 yenFree110 yenFree 
Sony BankAt 90,000 partner bank ATMsFree 4 times per month, 110 yen thereafterFree 4 times per month, 110 yen thereafterFree 4 times per month, 110 yen thereafterFree 4 times per month, 110 yen thereafter 
atm japan banks
Photo by iStock.com/coffeekai

Service fees for transfers from an ATM

BankATM tranfer fee
Prestia
(SMBC ATMs)
By cash:
220 yen–440 yen
By cash card:
Free
SMBCBy cash:
220 yen–440 yen
By cash card:
Free
MUFG BankBy cash:
Free between 08:45 and 18:00
(not available outisde these hours)
By cash card:
Free between 08:45 and 21:00
(110 yen outside those hours)
Japan Post BankBy cash:
152 yen–366 yen
By cash card:
152 yen–366 yen
Rakuten Bank
(at partner bank ATMs)
By cash:
Depends on the ATM 0 yen–275 yen)
By cash card:
0 yen–262 yen
Shinsei BankOnly online transfers available
Seven BankBy cash card:
55 yen–220 yen
Sony BankNot available
Japanese money
Photo by Greg Lane

Fees for receiving money from overseas

Pro tip: Wise launched a multi-currency account in Japan, allowing you to receive money in six different currencies, including GBP and USD, for free. Read more about this and other ways to send money to Japan.

BankPayments in yenPayments in other currencies
PrestiaFreeFree
SMBC1,500 yen
+ 5% of remittance amount
(min. 2,500 yen)
1,500 yen
MUFG Bank1,500 yen
+ 5% of remittance amount
(min. 2,500 yen)
1,500 yen
+ 5% of remittance amount
(min. 2,500 yen)
Japan Post BankService not availableUSD $10 / EUR €5
Rakuten Bank2,450 yen2,450 yen
Shinsei Bank2,000 yen (free for platinum and gold customers)2,000 yen (free for platinum and gold customers)
Seven BankService not availableService not available
Sony BankFreeFree, but the bank’s currency exchange rate will be applied

Fees for sending money overseas

International transfers can be quite costly in Japan. Here are the fees charged by the different banks.

Pro tip: Read about the best ways to send money out of Japan.

BankPayments in yenPayments in other currencies
Prestia3,500 yen†3,500 yen†via online banking
SMBC2,500 yen–4,500 yen
+ 2,500 +
+ 5% of remittance amount
(min. 2,500 yen)
2,500 yen–4,500 yen
+ 2,500 yen
MUFG Bank2,500 yen–3,000†
+ 5% of remittance amount
(min. 2,500 yen)
2,500 yen–3,000 yen††via online banking
Japan Post BankService not available2,000 yen††via online banking
Rakuten Bank750 yen
+ 3,000 yen
(+ 1,000 yen†)
750 yen
(+ 1,000 yen†)
†intermediary bank fee
Shinsei Bank2,000 yen†
+ 0.1% of remittance amount
(min. 1,500 yen)
2,000 yen–4,000 yen†when using their partner GoRemit
Seven BankService not available~950 yen††depends on the remittance amount
Sony Bank3,000 yen†3,000 yen††free up to 3 times a month with Club S membership

Online banking services and fees

Internet banking has not been widely available in Japan for all that long (not a big surprise in a country where many companies still use faxes a lot). But by now, most banks have caught up and offer most if not all banking services online.

One thing to be aware of is that the web versus app experience may be quite different. For example, while both Shinsei Bank and Sony Bank provide banking through the web in English, their smartphone apps are Japanese language only.

BankLanguageHoursOS/BrowserAppFees
PrestiaJapanese and English24 hWindows, MacOS X
IE, Chrome, FireFox, Safari
NoMonthly fee:
Free
(a 2,000 yen monthly account
maintenance fee is required)
Transfer fee to Prestia:
Free
Transfer fee to other banks:
259 yen
SMBCJapanese and English24 h
*except from
Sun 21:00 to
Mon 07:00
Windows, MacOS, Linux
IE, Edge, Chrome, FireFox
Yes (English translation is incomplete)Monthly fee:
Free
Transfer fee to SMBC:
Free
Transfer fee to other banks:
216 yen–432 yen
MUFG BankJapanese only24 h
(depending on
service)
Windows, MacOS
IE, Edge, Chrome, Safari
Yes (Japanese only)Monthly fee:
Free
Transfer fee to MUFG:
Free
Transfer fee to other banks:
216 yen–324 yen
Japan Post BankJapanese only00:05–23:55Windows, MacOS X
IE, Edge, Chrome, FireFox, Safari
(browser and OS must be in Japanese)
Yes (limited English translation)Monthly fee:
Free
Transfer fee to JP Bank:
Free for up to 5 transactions a month
Transfer fee to other banks:
216 yen–432 yen
Rakuten BankJapanese only24 hWindows, MacOS
IE, Edge, Chrome, Safari
(browser and OS must be in Japanese)
YesMonthly fee:
Free
Transfer fee to Rakuten:
Free
Transfer fee to other banks:
165 yen–258 yen
Shinsei BankJapanese and English24 hWindows, MacOS, Linux
IE, Edge, Chrome, FireFox, Safari
Yes (Japanese only)Monthly fee:
Free
Transfer fee to Shinsei:
Free
Transfer fee to other banks:
103 yen–308 yen
Seven BankJapanese24 hWindows, MacOS
IE, Edge, Chrome, Safari
YesMonthly fee:
Free
Transfer fee to Seven Banks:
54 yen
Transfer fee to other banks:
216 yen
Sony BankJapanese and English24 hWindows, MacOS
Supports most browsers
Yes (Japanese only)Monthly fee:
Free
Transfer fee to Sony Bank:
Free
Transfer fee to other banks:
Free twice per month, thereafter 220 yen

Interested in those notes and coins? Check out The Geeky Cheapo’s Guide to Japanese Money.

This article was first published on March 19, 2020 and is regularly updated. Last update: July 6, 2021.

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