A few months ago I was told I had to have a Japanese bank account in order to get paid from a small job I did. Google helped, but ultimately it was word of mouth and trial and error that helped me to open my account. To help others out who may be in the same situation, I wanted to give a quick summary of the things you’ll need.
I was told about the Bank of Yokohama right on Blue Street in Yokosuka. It’s just before Yokosuka-chuo on the right side if you are leaving the US Naval Base. I would highly, highly recommend using them. While I obviously didn’t use any other bank, they made it EXTREMELY easy as a foreigner to open an account, not to mention they were very polite and helpful.
Okay – so in order to open up an account, you will need:
1) Your passport (makes sense)
2) Your PO Box address – this is the way I did it. If you don’t have one, I would honestly recommend opening one up. They will mail your ATM card there and they already have a whole form set up to help you with this address. If you don’t want to open up a PO box or use your on-base address – you may need to look for other help online (sorry!)
3) A Hanko (your Japanese name stamp). If you don’t have one of these (I didn’t), you can go to the Kawashima stationery store. If you head back out to blue street from the bank and make a left, it is about a 2-3 minute walk. It will be on your left. You will go upstairs to the second floor and towards the back. If you just keep saying “Hanko” like I did, likely someone will eventually help you (ha!). You can pick out pretty much anything and I believe mine cost me less than 300 yen. Of course, if you want something more personalized (it can be a good souvenir), then you may pay more.
I also brought our orders and military ID.. but if I remember correctly you will not need them. But hey, better safe than sorry!
Once you’re there and you have everything (if you don’t, they’ll tell you), they will help you step by step when filling out the form. It all ran very smooth and they, again, were very kind throughout the process. Once I was done with the form, they handed me a number and I waited my turn. I sat back down one more time while they finished up my passbook and such, but all in all, it took about 30 minutes total, and it was a decently busy day.
So here we are today and I needed to close my account..
Things you will need:
1) The SAME Hanko – this will make life a bajillion times easier, so don’t get rid of that thing.
2) Your Passbook (checkbook thing). If you don’t have this, I think you will need your passport
3) Your Cash Card (ATM card)
If you have all of this, the process again goes very smooth. I think I spent a total of 15 minutes in the bank this time (maybe less). They showed me step by step again, and there were less forms. They kept my cash card (so if you want a picture of it as a souvenir, you might want to take that before) and handed me the money I had left in my account. So so simple and very foreigner friendly (at least to native English speakers).
I hope this helps anyone that was looking for information! Again, I highly recommend using them – it all went so smooth!
And of course if you’re looking for other Japan adventures to check out while you’re in Yokosuka, you can read about some other local(ish) trips we took while here 🙂 — Mt. Fuji, Winter in Japan, More near Yokosuka.
Enjoy your time in Japan!!
Until next time,