Destination Guide | Tokyo Japan

Banking Services

Currency

Japan’s currency is the Yen, which literally means “circle”. It is issued in denominations of 1,000, 2,000 (very rare), 5,000 and 10,000 notes. Coins appear in denominations of 1,5,10, 50, 100 and 500 yen pieces. Vending machines usually accept 10, 50 and 100 yen coins, as well as 1,000 yen notes. Increasingly, newer or reformatted machines now accept 500 yen coins and 5,000 and 10,000 yen notes.

Two helpful currency conversion sites: X-rates and Oanda

Currency Exchange

At the most of retail banks in Tokyo, you will be able to exchange currency, not only USD to JPY but also, EURO, British Pound, Swiss Fran, Australian Dollar and New Zealand Dollar etc.

Also, Mizuho Bank, MUFJ Bank and Mitsui Sumitomo Bank, the Big 3, sell forex. These shops business hours are longer than regular banks and most of them open the counter on weekends as well.

Here’s English website of MUFJ: World Currency Shops.

Banks and ATM’s

Japanese people carry large amounts of cash. Although some banks offer personal checking accounts, personal checks are not used in Japan.

There are some major banks which offer the services you are likely to need. Direct debit payments are the easiest and most common way to pay your bills in Japan. Since even the most simple bank transaction can take a long time if you involve bank personnel, most foreigners use ATMs whenever possible.

Many ATMs are available only in Japanese, although some ATMs have a bilingual display mode in Japanese and English. ATMs are found at banks and many convenience stores. You may be charged for withdrawal during certain time periods. You can also use your ATM card (commonly called “cash card” in Japan) at the ATMs of different banks. There will be an extra service charge in such cases.

To send money overseas, fill out a designated application form and take it to a clerk at the bank. Both sender and recipient are required to pay a services charge. You may also ask the bank to issue a demand draft and mail it yourself.


Prestia

On-line banking is available in English.


Shinsei Bank

On-line banking is available in English


The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi

On-line banking is only in Japanese


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On-line banking is only in Japanese


Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

On-line banking is only in Japanese


Opening a Bank Account

In order to open your personal bank account, you need to present your resident card. However, banks have different requirements. Therefore, you need to check with your branch directly.

Internet Banking Options

The major banks in Japan all have internet banking services, but the websites are all in Japanese. Only Prestia and Shinsei Bank offer internet banking in English.

Credit Cards

The major credit cards used in Japan are VISA, Master, JCB, Diners and AMEX. To apply for credit cards in Japan you will need similar documentation as to when you opened a bank account.