Conservative country, conservative banks
Opening a bank account in Japan can be a real nightmare. In fact, only a few banks offer papers, staff and services in English, and some of the more traditional Japanese banks such as UFJ, Risona, Mizuho and SMBC are good choice only for those who are fluent in Japanese and plan on staying in Japan for long.
To open an account in Japan you need: work/student visa (bring your passport), or the enroll letter from the school (入学許可書), your Japanese ID (在留カード), and telephone number. Some banks require an inkan (印鑑), which is a personal seal used for signing official documents (certain banks will allow you to use your signature instead).
Japanese post bank
Japanese Post Bank is the easiest option for foreigners who want to open a bank account in Japan for convenience and ease of use. Opening an account here is quite easy and doesn't require ink.
Branches and ATM points are usually homogeneous distributed in most of Japanese city areas, a point which is better don't underestimate (nobody likes to spend hours of own spare time for bank's stuff). In addition, this is also the only Japanese bank that will allow underage students to open their own bank account, and one of the few banks that don't charge fees for money transfers from overseas to a Japanese Post Bank account.
Japanese Post Bank is definitely the best choice.
SMBC & Shinsei
Shinsei Bank is more English-friendly than Post Bank, and all services (including telephone support and online banking) are available also in English. This bank also offers foreign currency accounts, which are useful for travelers, and for anyone who need to send money from Japan to the overseas and inkan signature is not required.
Unfortunately unlike Post Bank, Shinsei Bank branches are concentrated in the center of most metropolitan areas (except for Tokyo), which is inconvenient if you live in outlying districts.
SMBC Trust Bank is another good choice for foreigners who need banking services and support in English.
Most of this banks offers a regular deposit account (普通預金) with a check card (for ATM operations, etc), a debit card (which requires to apply separately), and passbook (通帳) containing your account details and transaction records, updatable at your bank’s ATM points.
We may also suggest UFJ Mitsubishi Tokyo Bank, one of the most popular banks in Japan. This bank has conservative policy about foreigners (you need a strong command of Japanese language to open an account here) though, the quality of the bank services (internet banking, security, application for smartphones, etc...) are the best, and UFJ ATM points are almost everywhere.
Bank documents are complicated stuff, but don't worry!
As our life support service includes assistance with bank account opening, we can safety guide you through Japanese bank procedures!
Keep in mind that if you are here on a tourist visa, you won’t be able to open an account.