Financial institutions

Opening a bank account Cash cards Personal seals

Using automated withdrawal from your bank account or post office to pay for public utility bills such as for electricity and gas is easy and convenient.

Opening a bank account


In addition to the large nation-wide banks (The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Resona Bank, Limited), there are small and mid-sized local financial institutions in each region of the country. When opening a bank account, you’ll need some sort of official personal identification (resident card, passport, registered inkan [personal seal]). At some large city banks you’ll be able to open an account with your signature rather than a personal seal, but most regional banks seem to required one. It is best to inquire beforehand.
Additionally, some banks will not allow you to open an account if you have not been in Japan for at least six months.

Hours: Weekdays 9 to 3 p.m.
ATM machines: Depending on the day and hour, fees may apply for money transfers or withdrawals.

Post Office

If you open a Japan Post Bank Co., Ltd. account, you will have access to the same functions—such as savings account and automatic payment of public utility bills—that are available at other financial institutions.
Just as when opening an account at a bank, you will need some form of official personal identification such as your resident card or passport and a registered personal seal.

Hours: Weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (money transfers and withdrawals)
ATM machines: no fees

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Cash cards

When opening your account, you will receive a cash card that allows you to use ATM machines to withdraw cash and transfer funds automatically. There are limits on the amount of money you can move using ATMs, however, so for larger amounts go to the service counter at your bank or post office.
ATMs are also installed at convenience stores and can be used 24 hours a day in some locations.

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Personal seals

In Japan, a personal seal is used in the place of a signature in many cases, such as when receiving a package, creating a bank passbook or signing a lease.

Unofficial seal (

An unofficial seal is a seal for everyday use, and can be used as proof of receipt of registered mail, parcel posts and deliveries. It is also necessary when buying a cell phone and opening a bank account. You will need to use the seal registered with the bank when withdrawing savings and closing your account, so please keep it safe. An unofficial seal can be designed in kanji, kana or romaji.

Official seal (

An official seal is a seal registered at a government office. Anybody fifteen years of age and older with a valid resident card can register one seal at the local government office. The official seal is valid in the eyes of the law, and is necessary when creating important documents (contracts, various procedures at government offices, the purchase of real estate and automobiles, receipt of insurance payments or indemnities).
To register an official seal at the local government office, bring your resident card and the seal you wish to register. When you move, you are required to return the certificate of registration to the office.
The name on your official seal must be identical to that on your resident card.

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