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Essential Japanese Phrases Study Abroad Student Needs To Learn Opening a Bank Account


Opening A Bank Account In Japan

One of the most important things that you need after arrival in Japan is a local bank account. It is of course, essential in managing and carrying out your daily financial transactions, regardless of the country you live in. In Japan, it is no different. It is necessary to have one if you live and work in Japan. This applies to international students staying in Japan who have intentions to work part-time jobs.

Many jobs in Japan will only pay you through direct deposit and rent will often be deducted from your bank account. Therefore, it is vital to at least have a local bank account. So let’s go through the required items as well as the main procedures of opening a bank account in Japan.

bank account in japan

Necessary Items to Bring

Before walking into your closest bank branch to open a bank account in Japan, it’s important to have all of the required documents at hand. Here is a list of documents which will be required in most instances when opening a bank account in Japan:

  1. Passport with valid visa (if you are only in Japan on a 90 day visitor visa then you won’t be able to open a bank account)
  2. Residence Card
  3. Personal seal (most Japanese require a hanko to open an account and the domestic banks will require this also. You may get away with just a signature at a foreign bank, but it’s advisable to get a hanko as it’s used a lot for official documentation in Japan)

Basic Procedures

Now we will go over the procedures on how to open a bank account in Japan. Once you have all of your documents ready and have decided on which bank to go with, it’s just a matter of walking into your closest most convenient branch. You can open an account over the phone, via the Internet, or by submitting an application by post. Going into a branch in person will be the easiest option. But before we move on, let’s see some important words and phrases that you are most likely to use or hear while in the bank.

Words & Phrases You Need To Know

  • I want to open an account - 口座(こうざ)を開きたいのですが
  • I want to open a savings account - 普通預金(ふつうよきん)口座にしたいのですが
  • I want to open a current account - 当座預金(とうざよきん)口座にしたいのですが
  • Please fill this up - この書類(しょるい)を書いてください
  • I’m sorry, I can’t write in Japanese - すみませんが、日本語が書けません
  • You may write in Roman characters - ロマージで結構(けっこう)ですよ
  • I will deposit - 預金お願いします
  • How much will you deposit? - おいくら預金なさいますか
  • I will withdraw - 引き出したいのですが
  • Here’s my passbook - これは私の通帳(つうちょう)です
  • I want to update my account - 通帳に記帳(きちょう)したいんです
  • How much is the interest? - 利子(りし)はいくらですか

Initial Deposit

You will have to complete an application form and in most cases make an initial deposit. This can be as little as ¥100. Most banks do not require a minimum balance, but they may charge a monthly fee if the account balance isn’t above a certain figure.

Debit Card & Bank Book

After the account is established, you can apply for a debit card and PIN number. The debit card will be sent to your home address in approximately a week afterwards. You will be given a bank book which will include your account name written in katakana or romaji, the 3-digit sort code of your local branch and your 7-digit account number.

ATMs in Japan

The ATMs in Japanese banks and post offices usually have an English menu and instructions. From ATMs you can withdraw, deposit, update your passbook, check your balance, and make transfers to another account. If you use your debit card at the ATM of another bank, you may be charged a service fee, so it’s advised to always try using your own bank’s ATM for withdrawals.

You can make arrangements to pay most of your bills directly from your bank account, which is the most common method of bill payment in Japan and saves the hassle of going into a branch or a shop.

Not As Difficult As It Seems

Opening a bank account in Japan is actually not so difficult. Things can be very straightforward if you come prepared with all of the required documents and have researched which bank is going to be best for you. As has been mentioned several times, if you are not confident to enter a branch on your own then it’s always a good idea to take a native Japanese speaker with you. Once you understand how to open a bank account in Japan, there’s nothing you can’t do here!


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