After you obtain RESIDENCE CARD and register your residence address in Japan, you would like to open a bank account in Japan.

Each bank, even each branch of the bank, has its own procedures and requirements for opening a bank account (either individual or corporate).

Mega banks are credible but apply more strict rules and regulations, so it would not be easy for those who have just settled down in Japan to open an account there. It is said that it would be easier to open an account at regional banks or online banks.

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Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC / 三井住友銀行), MUFG Bank (三菱UFJ銀行), Mizuho Bank (みずほ銀行)

Major Regional Banks in Kansai Area
Kansai Mirai Bank (関西みらい銀行), Bank of Kyoto (京都銀行), Kiyo Bank (紀陽銀行), Senshu Ikeda Bank (池田泉州銀行), Shiga Bank (滋賀銀行) etc.

Major Shinkin Banks (Credit Unions/Associations 信用金庫) in Kansai Area
Osaka Shinkin Bank (大阪信用金庫), Osaka City Shinkin Bank (大阪シティ信用金庫), Osaka Kosei Shinkin Bank (大阪厚生信用金庫), Kyoto Shinkin Bank (京都信用金庫), Kyoto Chuo Shinkin Bank (京都中央信用金庫), Amagasaki Shinkin Bank (尼崎信用金庫) etc.

Other Banks good for foreign nationals
Japan Post Bank (ゆうちょ銀行), SBI Shinsei Bank (新生銀行), Rakuten Bank (楽天銀行), GMO Aozora Net Bank (GMOあおぞらネット銀行), Sony Bank (ソニー銀行), au Jibun Bank (auじぶん銀行)

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In case you would like to open personal bank account, you should try banks listed on “Other Banks good for foreign nationals” in the list of BANKS IN JAPAN above. Especially, SBI Shinsei Bank is a popular English-friendly bank, you don’t feel any stress to open a personal bank account and use their services. They have some physical branches, too. If you would like to open a bank account with the bank which you can access to the physical branches easily, you should try Japan Post Bank. You can find the branches easily but some branches might not have a English speaking clerk. Rakuten Bank is also popular among foreign nationals, however, the bank doesn’t have any physical branches (you can withdraw and deposit money through ATMs installed at convenience stores and their affiliate banks).

You should note that most of the banks in Japan limit foreign nationals to open a regular personal account in case;

  • you have not been living in Japan for 6 months or more
  • your period of stay granted is less than a year
  • you are holding visa status which is not allowed to work (except for family-related visa status), such as STUDENT, CULTURAL ACTIVITIES etc.

In the cases above, mostly, the bank will give you a limited account which you can just use for deposits and withdrawals until 6 months passed after you start living in Japan. During the period of restriction, you cannot transfer money from the account. After the period, the bank removes the restriction so that you can use the account as a regular personal account.

In case you are coming to Japan for study under STUDENT visa status, we would recommend to ask your coordinator of the school you enroll. Some schools would have an affiliate bank so that their students can open a personal bank account easily soon after they enter Japan.

Basic Required Documents

Required documents to open a personal bank account is different depending on the bank, your visa status and the period of stay etc. You should refer to the website of the bank you would like to open an account for further details.

  • MyNumber Card or Driver’s License (if any)
  • a receipt of public utility charges (e.g. electricity, water or gas etc.)
  • Phone number
  • (in case you open it at a physical branches of a mega bank or a regional/shinkin bank) Hanko/seal
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In some countries, opening a corporate bank account is a part of the procedures of incorporation or setting up a business entity. However, in Japan, opening a corporate bank account is totally separated from these procedures. You have to find the bank by yourself.

Opening a corporate bank account in Japan is getting difficult these days even when the company is owned and managed by a Japanese nationals to prevent from money laundering. They will ask you to provide many documents and ask you many questions to confirm the company’s business. The bank would reject your application depending on your visa status, period of stay, structure and business purposes of your company etc.

You should note that it is hard (we’d say it is impossible) to open corporate bank account if there is no directors living in Japan even you can set up a company without any resident in Japan.

If you engage a tax accounting firm for your business, we recommend that you should ask which bank is appropriate for your company’s circumstances. Some tax accounting firm might have a strong relationship with some banks or other organizations so they would be happy to assist you to open one.

Basic Required Documents

In case of a company which has not yet been more than 6 months after the set up, the bank will require the following documents as well as a face-to-face meeting at the branch;

  1. Certificate of Company Registry regarding all historical matters (履歴事項全部証明書)
  2. Hanko/Seal for bank account (銀行印)
  3. Registered corporate hanko/seal (法人代表者印)
  4. Identification of the Representative Director
  5. Certificate of Corporate Inkan/seal (法人印鑑証明書)
  6. Articles of Incorporation (定款)
  7. List of Shareholders (株主名簿/株主リスト)
  8. Copy of Notification submitted to Tax Office (Notification of Company Set-up, Notification of Opening Offices 法人設立届出書、給与支払事務所開設届出書)
  9. License, Permit and Certificate if the company engages in business which requires those license and so on.
  10. Documents which certify the business (especially in case of the virtual offices and serviced office: Invoice, Sales/business Agreement, statement of other banks etc.).
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