How To Open A Bank Account In Japan For Foreigners

Opening a bank account in Japan as a foreign national can be a daunting task, but with the appropriate preparation and understanding of the process, it can be easily accomplished.

It is essential to note that the vast majority of official forms in Japan, including those required to open a bank account, are written in Japanese. This may present a challenge for individuals who do not possess a strong command of the language. However, many major banks have interpreters on staff, or you may bring a friend or acquaintance who is fluent in Japanese to assist you.

Required Documents

The most commonly opened account by foreign nationals is the Futsū Yokin (普通預金), which is a basic deposit account. The requirements to open this type of account may vary from bank to bank, but typically, you will be asked to provide your:

*** Please note that individuals on a tourist visa will not be able to open an account.

It is important to note that during the bank account application process, you may be asked if you are a member of a criminal organization. This is a standard question asked of all account applicants in Japan, and should not be taken as an offense. Furthermore, it is crucial to be aware that Japan is heavily reliant on cash transactions, and it is advisable to always have cash on hand. ATMs can be found easily in both urban and rural areas.

Recommended Bank For Expatriates

For expatriates, two popular banks among the expat community are Japan Post (JP Post) and Shinsei Bank. JP Post is a popular choice as it does not require a Japanese phone number or hanko seal to open an account and forms can be filled out with a written signature. Shinsei Bank is also a popular choice as it offers forms written in and can be filled out in English. Additionally, Shinsei Banks are linked to most ATMs found in Japan’s 7-Eleven convenience stores, and they do not charge withdrawal fees for account holders. However, it is worth noting that Shinsei Bank has recently changed its policy and now requires a minimum of 6 months of living in Japan to open an account, making JP Post a better option for new students in Japan.

Commonly Used Japanese Banking Terms for Transactions

It is important to note that while English-speaking staff may be available at certain bank locations in larger cities such as Tokyo or Osaka, it may be beneficial to have a basic understanding of commonly used banking vocabulary in Japan. The following is a list of key terms and phrases that may prove useful in such situations:

  • Bank: 銀行 (Ginkō)
  • Withdrawal: 引き出し (Hikidashi)
  • Deposit: 預金 (Yokin)
  • Transfer: 振込 (Furikomi)
  • Account number: 口座番号 (Kōza bangō)
  • Cash: 現金 (Genkin)
  • Fee: 手数料 (Tesūryō)
  • Passbook update: 通帳更新 (Tsūchō kōshin)
  • Cash transfer: 現金振込 (Genkin furikomi)
  • Direct transfer: 口座振込 (Kōza furikomi)
  • Balance check: 残高照会 (Zandaka Shōkai)

In the event that the usage of English-speaking staff is not available, having a basic understanding of these terms may prove to be beneficial in effectively communicating with bank personnel and conducting banking transactions.


In conclusion, opening a bank account in Japan as a foreign national can be a relatively simple process as long as you possess the necessary documents and a basic understanding of the process. With appropriate preparation, the language barrier can be easily navigated, and a bank account can be opened with ease.