To begin with, If you correspond to the following situation down below, you can’t basically open a bank account.

If your visa status allows you to stay in Japan for less than or equal to 3 months

If you stay in Japan for 3 months to trade a real estate or something and want to open a bank account while in Japan, you have to apply for visa status of “Investor/Business Manager”.

Just remember that you can’t open a bank account with visa status “tourist” or “temporary visit”

Knowing what condition the Japanese bank require you to satisfy

Whether a bank will allow you to open an account or not all depends on if you correspond to “resident” or “non-resident“. These definitions of “resident” or “non-resident” are decided unquly by the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act.

Resident Duration of stay in Japan is more than or equal to 6 months, or you work in an office in Japan
Non resident Duration of stay in Japan is less than 6 months and you don’t work in an office in Japan

Duration of stay and your social status in Japan are the biggest criteria of wheather a Japanese bank decide to allow you to open a savings account. You firstly check if your situation meets these conditions.

If you want to know more about YUCHO BANK, please check this article → THE REASON WHY A JAPANESE BANK REJECTS YOUR REQUEST TO OPEN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT

Screening point to be noted

Sometimes, just because you are allowed to go through the procedure to open a savings account doesn’t mean you can smoothly open it. In some cases, there is a screening before opening an account. Whether you are “resident” or “non-resident” is only rough criteria to accept you or not.

Actually, Japanese banks disclose no screening points, but the following things are what generally banks are concerned about when allowing a foreigner to open a savings account.

  • Check if you have sufficient period of stay even after 6 months
  • Check if you work in an office in Japan
  • Check if you start paying a resident tax

These points are for Japanese banks to avoid the risks of fraudulent money transferring by a foreigner such as money laundering or terrorism support. Actually, you don’t have to satisfy these three conditions. However, as you satisfy these conditions, the probability that you can open a bank account goes up.

Check if you have sufficient period of stay even after 6 months

It is very difficult to open a bank account if you live in Japan for only 6 months. Speaking of 6 months, it is a condition to become a “resident”. When you become “resident” defined by the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act, your visa is just expired and need to go back to your country. A bank doesn’t want to allow such a person to open a savings account in Japan.

You just make sure if you have a sufficient period of stay even after living in Japan for 6 months.

However, if you work in an office in Japan, you’re not required to satisfy the condition that you have a 6-month duration of stay

Check if you work in an office in Japan

Working in an office in Japan as a full-time position is strong credible evidence given to a Japanese bank. The Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act mentions that a foreigner who works in Japan is recognized as “resident” regardless of the restriction of a 6-month duration of stay.

Check if you start paying a resident tax

There are so many banks that allow foreigners who start paying resident tax to open a savings account unconditionally. Resident tax is imposed from the second year after the day you start living in Japan. In short, as of the time you start paying resident tax, you’ve already lived in Japan for 1 year.

It seems like a Japanese bank considers the fact that you start paying resident tax becomes the evidence that you’re recognized as a formal resident by a municipality.

What you need to take to a bank

  • Resident card (visa status)
  • Resident certificate
  • Inkan (or your autograph)

Inkan (stamp) is a very important tool in Japan to conclude the procedure. As much as possible, I recommend you to prepare it beforehand. However, actually, there are some banks that don’t request you to stamp Inkan but to give your sign on a document.

Banks with no restriction on duration of stay in Japan

As long as I searched, just two banks are willing to open a savings account of foreigners who don’t satisfy the Foreign exchange and foreign trade ACT

Even if you can stay in Japan for only 6 months, you can open a bank account

  • Yucho bank
  • AEON bank

Yucho bank

Yucho bank has no restriction on duration of stay in Japan mentioned by the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act. Even if you your duration of stay in Japan is less than 6 months, you can go through the procedure.

When you applying for a savings account, there are following documents you need to prepare in advance

Things you need to prepare to open a savings account in Yucho Bank


Especially, you must finish submitting a move-in notification and getting MY NUMBER before going to YUCHO BANK and also you should make an Inkan(印鑑) beforehand.

Advantages of Japan Post Bank

  • You can deposit and withdraw at 27300 ATMs equipped in 24100 shops around Japan with no fee.
  • 500 shops of “Family Mart” install “Yucho ATM” in Metropolitan area and Kansai area, which you can deposit and withdraw for free.
  • If you have a cash card of Yucho Ginko, you can deposit and withdraw at more than 50,000 convenience stores anytime throughout Japan.
  • If you transfer money into another saving account of Yucho Bank, you can transact for free.

Pros and Cons of Yucho Ginko (Japan Post Bank)

IEON Bank

IEON bank also has no restriction on the duration of stay in Japan. Even if you don’t satisfy the condition of the Foreign exchange and Foreign Trade Act, you can go through the procedure.

However, it seems there are few people who can communicate in English. Moreover, voice instructions by phone are all explained in Japanese. You may feel inconvenience when you face some troubles on bank transaction.

Things you need to prepare to open a savings account in IEON Bank

I will strongly recommend you to open a savings account in Yucho Bank (Japan Post Bank)

If you want to know more, please check this article, “THE REASON WHY A JAPANESE BANK REJECTS YOUR REQUEST TO OPEN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT”

Information about Yucho Bank is written at the subtitle, “Yocho Ginko is only a the bank having no restrictions on savings account for foreigners who have lived in Japan for less than 6 months.

What you can do with a savings account

  • You can receive a salary from your saving account
  • You can withdraw from ATM
  • You can transfer your money (Furikomi)
  • You can deposit your money
  • You can enter up the transaction

You can recieve a salary from your saving account

If you work for a company in Japan, your salary will mostly be transferred to your savings account. A company want to leave a transaction record that it surely gave you a salary.

You can withdraw from ATM

You can find ATM everywhere in Japan. ATM in convenience stores is the best to use. You can withdraw and deposit for 24 hours. But the transaction fee will be incurred if your cash card is not the one issued by a financial institution that manages the ATM installed in the convenience store.

You can transfer your money (Furikomi)

Transferring money to someone’s account you need to pay for is, what we call, “Furikomi”.
Apartment rent payment is almost to be made via bank transfer. You can make a payment through a bank teller without a savings account.

But if you have a saving account, a transaction fee will be free if the account you transfer to belongs to the same bank like yours. If you need to transfer money frequently, you can save your time and money.

You can deposit your money

Japanese is the most depositing nations in the world. Depositing is not what you expect for benefits returned by the interest rate of an account you have but what you store money into in Japan. So your saving account should be your wallet.

You can enter up the transaction

You just grasp what you used that money for. This is a very good function that you can record transaction data to your bank book.

Conditions of opening savings account of Japanese Major Banks

The following table is about conditions you need to satisfy when opening a bank account.
I will explain some words you probably don’t know here.

Required duration of residence is a period of time that you must already spend in Japan from the day you come to Japan at the time you open a bank account.

For example, if a bank requires you the duration of residence for 6 months, you must have already lived in Japan for 6 months in Japan at the time you open a bank account.

Hanko is a seal to stamp on a application form or contract in place of your autograph.

Banks Conditions of opening accounts
Japan Post Bank
  • You need to already have a resident card.
  • Visa that allows you to stay in Japan for more than 3 months
  • MY NYMBER shall be obtained
  • No required duration of residence in Japan
  • No account maintenance fee
MUFG
  • You need to already have a resident card.
  • Visa that allows you to stay in Japan for more than 1 year
  • Required duration of residence in Japan is for 6 months
  • *There is a case where required duration of residence will be eased by a comprehensive judgement
  • No account maintenance fee
SMBC
  • You need to already have a resident card.
  • Visa that allows you to stay in Japan for more than 3 months
  • Required duration of residence in Japan is for 6 months
  • If you have a employee card that proves you are full time worker
  • If you can submit a company’s report that your company designate this bank for employees to open savings accounts
  • No account maintenance fee
  • Hanko
Mizuho
  • You need to already have a resident card.
  • Visa that allows you to stay in Japan for more than 1 year
  • Required duration of residence in Japan is for 6 months
  • If there is mention that the types of visa status is “working” on your resident card, you can open a saving account on the spot.
  • No account maintenance fee
  • Hanko
Shinsei Bank
  • You need to already have a resident card.
  • Visa that allows you to stay in Japan for more than 1 year
  • Required duration of residence in Japan is for 6 months
  • MY NYMBER shall be obtained
  • No duration of residence is required
  • No account maintenance fee
  • My number notification card
  • Social Security Number (if you are American)
AEON Bank
  • You need to already have a resident card.
  • Visa that allows you to stay in Japan for more than 1 year
  • MY NYMBER shall be obtained
  • No duration of residence is required
  • No account maintenance fee
  • Hanko

A bank that has tellers who can communicate in English

Only Shinsei bank has a teller who can communicate in English at branch offices

Nihonbashi head office is located in 5 minute-walk from Shin-Nihonbashi station.

Tokyo branch office is located in 5 minute-walk from Tokyo station.

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