• Shiori W

How can one open a bank account in Japan?

Should one apply online or in person at a branch location of the bank?


Hi everyone, I will share the tips regarding how to open a bank account in Japan, both for corporation usage and personal usage.

This information was published in May of the year 2020.

Since the rules concerning Japanese financial policies are not set in stone there is a possibility that the listed information may become incorrect or change. The required documents needed to open a bank account may vary.

Please check the latest policies with your bank.

When you start a business in Japan, you should open a corporate bank account in Japan.

Legally, you are not required to use a corporate bank account for your business and you can use your personal bank account, however, most companies have corporate bank accounts so that they can clearly show their business’s costs and profits.

Clients will also be reluctant to transfer any funds into a private bank account and will most likely refuse to do so.

Additionally, when applying for loans or subsidies you will be required to have a corporate bank account. Therefore, I recommend opening a corporate bank account for your business so that you can avoid any unnecessary trouble or suspicion from the tax office.

Let’s check what one needs in order to open a corporate bank account.

· Corporate registered seal (実印 Jitsu-in、法人登記印 Ho-jin Toki in)

· Corporate seal to be used for banking (銀行印 Ginko-in)

· Corporation registration certificate (登記簿 To-kibo)

· Articles of Incorporation (定款 Teikan)

· CEO’s personal seal and a certificate of registration for the seal (社長の実印 Shacho no Jitsu-in)

· CEO’s ID (社長の本人確認用の書類 Shachou no hon-nin kakunin no shorui)

· A three-year business plan with a financial forecast (事業計画書 Jigyo-keikaku-sho)

· A leaflet or pamphlet from your business.

· The lease or contract of the business’s office space.

Referenced resources

Information regarding three mega banks in Japan.

Mitsubishi UFJ bank https://www.bk.mufg.jp/info/houjin_kouza.html

Mitsui Sumitomo bank https://www.smbc.co.jp/hojin/kouza/websoudan.html

Mizuho bank https://www.mizuhobank.co.jp/corporate/account/index.html

Additional Information

List of regional banks in Japan

https://www.chiginkyo.or.jp/app/story.php?story_id=1591

*The required items will be arranged, depends on what type of business you will open, also how much the shares you hold or other shareholders have.

*The materials one is required to provide depend on what type of business one wishes to open and how many shares in the company one owns and how many other shareholders own.


What kind of Bank account should I open?

Futsu Koza VS Toza koza?


There are 3 main types of bank accounts in Japan.

1. An ordinary savings account (普通預金口座 Futsu Yokin Koza) A regular savings account. Money can be freely withdrawn and deposited.

2. Fixed deposit/time deposit/certificate of deposit account (定期預金口座 Teiki Yokin Koza) Money in this kind of account cannot be accessed until it reaches maturity after a set amount of time. The interest is higher than a regular savings account.

3. Checking account (当座預金口座 Toza Yokin Koza) A checking account. Available for immediate and frequent access by the owner.

A company usually uses a Futsu Yokin Koza (Savings account) to make and receive payments. A company cannot use a Teiki Yokin (Fixed Deposit account) to pay for costs or salary payments. It also cannot be used to receive payments. A Toza Yokin (Checking Account) is used for checking needs and can be used to pay by bank check.

Each of the accounts have different uses and purposes so please make sure to double check what kind of bank account you want to open before applying.

Generally, a business will only need a Futsu Yokin Koza (Savings account) in the beginning.

*It will take at least 2 weeks for a corporate bank account application to be processed and for the account to be opened.

*To apply for online banking, a separate form is needed so please inform the bank’s staff if you wish to use online banking.

Once an application has been processed the bank will call to inform the applicant. The applicant will need to go to the bank to receive the relevant documents and the bankbook for the account.

Until the account is ready you will not be able to withdraw from it so please make sure that you are able to still make whatever payments you need to.


For companies there are, both, pros and cons to opening a bank account online or in person. Some banks may charge a higher handling fee when making payments from an account that was not set up online.

One of the pros of using an online account is that the handling fees are lower than doing a transaction at a branch of a bank. Opening an online bank account is not that easy in Japan, so is it really worth the trouble?

While handling fees are lower when using an online bank, having a face to face relationship with a bank and its staff can give one more business opportunities.

Regular banks can support the growth of your business by presenting new opportunities using their connections with other companies in the city you reside in.

I’d recommend opening a bank account at a regular physical bank despite the slightly higher handling fees. As there are many benefits to establishing a relationship with a bank that has connections to other companies in the city. Opening an account at a local regional bank can be helpful as some areas may be more interconnected and the bank may help you start making connections with others in the area.

Japanese businesses like having face-to-face interactions.

In order to grow a business in Japan having connections is a must. Being connected in the area you wish to grow a business is a must in any country but especially so in Japan. Japanese people still like to talk things out in person and prefer an in person way of doing things. Virtual meetings have been increasing in recent times due the Corona virus but Japanese people still feel strongly that face to face interactions are needed to establish connections. There’s a reason why Japanese businesses have not been very good at online marketing in the past, in Japan your connections are still more effective for growing your business than anything you can do online.

I’d recommend building a good relationship with your contact person at a bank, called a tantou (supervisor/person in charge). They are the one you will deal with most and who is responsible for your account at the bank.

Having a good relationship with your banker, leads to more opportunities.

I think of banks as, not only, being there for your financial needs but also for establishing connections. If a bank thinks your business is financially healthy and stable, they will be able to introduce customers to your business and provide more opportunities.

Having a relationship with a bank in your area can help both your business and the bank do well.

I’d recommend not undervalue a relationship with a bank if you want to expand your business in the area. Banks have a large network and know many customers.

Some banks even provide free memberships to closed events where you can meet other business leaders in the area and receive feedback or advice.





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Regarding a personal bank account, one will need the following when applying to open a personal bank account.

The process of opening a bank account will take a bit of time, usually an hour or more. The applicant will be required to bring documentation certifying their identity and their address in their home country. Once processed the applicant will receive a phone call from the bank. Online banking services have spread in recent times and most banks will have some form of it, however, a lot of these services may only be available in Japanese so please confirm if there is a language option with the bank’s staff. In my experience some banking apps can be used in English and it is based off what language a person’s smartphone is set up in. An applicant will generally be required to bring the following items.

What to bring?

· One’s officially registered seal (実印 Jitsu-in)

· A registered seal that one uses for banking (銀行印 Ginko-in)

· A form of ID (在留カード/パスポートResidence card or a passport) (note to shiori: it used to be called something else that was more like foreigner registration card but that seemed too racist so it’s now called a residence card.)

· A form of ID from the home country of the applicant (Your ID number or pension No.)

· An amount of money to start the account with. From 1000 yen on.

*Depending on the bank’s policies and what country the applicant is from, an applicant may need to submit additional documentation.

Be sure to inform the staff of the intended purpose of the bank account. In Japan there are different types of accounts that are not very flexible so a specific account may be needed for the intended use.

What kind of bank account should I apply for?

There are 3 main types of bank accounts in Japan.

1. An ordinary savings account (普通預金口座 Futsu Yokin Koza) A regular savings account. Money can be freely withdrawn and deposited.

2. Fixed deposit/time deposit/certificate of deposit account (定期預金口座 Teiki Yokin Koza) Money in this kind of account cannot be accessed until it reaches maturity after a set amount of time. The interest is higher than a regular savings account.

3. Checking account (当座預金口座 Toza Yokin Koza) A checking account. Available for immediate and frequent access by the owner.

If you want a normal savings account that you can freely withdraw from and deposit into, you should open a Futsu Yokin Koza. You will be able to use this account to make payments automatically and to receive payments.

It is possible to open a bank account online without going to a physical location. An applicant will still be required to fill out and submit physical documents though, an inkan (seal) is required to open any kind of bank account in Japan. Online banking services are still being worked on and tweaked in Japan.

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