Shortly after arriving in Ishikawa, someone from your school or contracting organization should take you to set up a bank account so that you can be paid. Most likely you will not have a choice in which bank you may use as your contracting organization will choose the one through which they do most of its own banking (Most Ishikawa JETs use Hokkoku Bank [北國銀行]). However, you are free to open a separate account with another bank if you so wish.
Banks vs Post Office: Where to put your hard earned yen
For banking, some people swear by banks while others solely utilize the post office bank—Yūcho Bank (ゆ うちょ銀行). In bigger cities, there are more branch offices of a bank than post offices, while in other places the post office may be the only place to do your banking. In general, post offices offer slightly higher interest rates and offer a nation-wide banking system. Which service you use depends on your daily needs.
Banks in Japan offer little or no interest so most JETs send their extra money home or invest their money elsewhere. However Japanese bank accounts are handy for paying utilities, transferring money domestically and using the ATM (Automatic Teller Machine). Generally, banks are open Monday to Friday 09:00 to 15:00, and are closed on all public holidays and also over the New Year’s holiday period.
Bank Branch Offices
Many banks in Japan are regional and do not have branches all over the country. However, you should be able to use your ATM card to withdrawal money from ATMs of other banks. These transactions will cost ¥100~¥300.
Many JETs use Hokkoku (北國 – the green bank), Hokuriku (北陸 – the red bank), or Noto-Shin (のとしん – the carrot bank) to do their banking because they have a large number of branches within the prefecture.
Opening an Account
For banks, there are two types of accounts:
- – Ordinary Deposit (futsū yokin, 普通預金) – Withdrawals and deposits available at any time in banking hours.
- – Fixed Term (tēki yokin, 定期預金) – Deposit term is fixed, no withdrawals or deposits until maturity. More interest than an Ordinary Deposit.
Other kinds of accounts are available at different banks. Personal checks are not common in Japan and have high service charges.
To open a bank account you require:
- – Identification (Residence Card, National Health Insurance Certificate or passport)
- – Hanko (also called inkan) – This is commonly used in place of a signature.
- For more information on banking and finance visit the Money Matters Section of the Wiki.