Bank Systems and Opening a Bank Account in Japan | Guidable Japan

Bank Systems and Opening a Bank Account in Japan

By Tony Tao Sep 9, 2020

Bank Systems and Opening a Bank Account in Japan

This article focuses on those who intend to live in Japan, need to know how banking works in Japan, and how to open a bank account. 

The Guidable  Team will soon publish a general overview of banking services and related information for those passing through Japan as tourists or on business. 

So, stay tuned my friend!

Links to Major Japanese Banks

Citibank Japan


Sumitomo Mitsui


Yucho (Post Office Savings) Bank

Opening Hours & ATMs

Japan bank opening hours are from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. If you are familiar with the many facilities they provide, Japanese banks can provide excellent services. However, some things may not seem all that convenient initially. For instance, the ATMs close early. Many close every day at 5:00 pm (and most on Sunday at 5:00 pm); others remain open until 7:00 pm or 8:00 pm. Fortunately, you still have the Konbini by your side, which provides 24-hour ATM services. Check out FULL services in konbini – Japanese convenience stores now

Although Japanese ATMs allow you to withdraw large amounts of money, it is more difficult to get cash before 8:00am. Many ATMs are also closed on holidays, so be sure to have a full wallet before following any vacation plans. There are signs that are posted well in advance announces the closing day during national holidays, so check your bank before leaving. 

Unseen side

Why Japanese Banks close so early? Believe it or not, after all, it is the law. The banking system is one of the most heavily regulated industries so that even the hours of banking are determined by law. Regulations on the Enforcement of the Banking Law article 16  sets out working hours for banks from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. That doesn’t mean that employees get to go home despite early closing times, though.

Closing time, in fact, is when real work starts. 

Banking Services in Japan

You will receive a bankbook, a cash card, and online account management information as soon as possible after finishing the registration to open a new bank account. Most Japanese banks now also provide telephone services and internet banking. 

Japanese ATMs are multifunctional. They not only take and dispense money and keep your bankbook up to date, but they also allow you to buy things like airline tickets and, oddly enough, anything else that requires a deposit.

Opening A Japanese Bank Account

You need to open a bank account to get a phone line or cell phone in Japan, so it is on the first thing to do once you get to Japan as a new resident. If you are short term residents not staying for a long time in Japan, no bank account but still want a phone line? Try JP SMART SIM

You will need your Residence Card (Zairyu Cardo, in Japanese) or Alien Registration Card (an ID card that all foreigners are legally obliged to apply for after a 90-day initial stay) to open a bank account in Japan; and your Inkan or Hanko (personal seal), although a signature may be enough in some banks such as SMBC Trust Bank / Prestia – original Citibank

Except at Citibank (SMBC Trust Bank / Prestia) branches, there will be no English language assistance. So bring your friend who can speak Japanese, if you can. 

Walk into your preferred local bank and fill out the required forms. You will be given the choice of your 4-digit personal identification number (PIN) and receive a bank book (tsūchō – 通帳) that you can use to keep updating your account balance and transaction history in any of the bank’s ATMs. 

Your bank or passbook will contain your account name written in katakana or romaji, your local branch’s 3-digit sort code (misebangō – 店番), and your 7-digit account number (kōzabangō – 口座番号). If your passbook is full, you can ask to get a new one from the branch where you opened your account.

Yucho – the Japanese Post Office’s banking arm

A general deposit account known as futsū yokin – 普通預金 is the most common form of Japan’s bank account. The interest rates are currently meager.

Once you have opened your account, you will receive your cash card in the post, which you can use to make withdrawals in your bank. If you are making a withdrawal at another bank’s branch, which is not your own, you may be liable for a service charge. There are also extra pay charges for services outside normal 9:00 am – 5:00 pm weekdays banking hours, except for Japan Post Bank accounts – Yuucho – ゆうちょ銀行, where withdrawals are always free.

Bank Systems and Opening a Bank Account in Japan

If you are new to Japanese culture, hoping to open a bank account in Japan, we hope you find our article a useful piece of information. Still, there are plenty of aspects in Japan’s bank system, such as money transfering (domestic and oversea), money savings, remittance service,… Those will be the Guidable team’s next article topics of our new “Banking systems in Japan” series. After all, all of our activities are aiming for a better life for foreigners in Japan! So, stay tuned and follow us!