About This Guide


Life in Tokyo: Your Guide is a lifestyle guidebook published for non-Japanese residents by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Bureau of Citizens and Cultural Affairs to help them begin their new life in Tokyo. From the moment you enter the country, this guide has all the information you need to live your day-to-day life. You will even discover advice from fellow expats who have been living in the city for some time, providing extra knowledge that is sure to come in useful. Let this guide kickstart your new life in Tokyo!

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You can download a complete PDF version of Life in Tokyo: Your Guide, a lifestyle guidebook produced especially for expats starting their new life in Tokyo

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Life in TokyoFinances(banks, credit cards)

The procedures taken to open an account depend on the financial institution.

What you need to open an account

1. Documents confirming your identity (residence card, passport, etc.)
2. Your personal seal (inkan)
* The required items and conditions vary according to the financial institution.


It will be more reassuring to go with someone whounderstands/speaks Japanese!
Go between 9 am and 3 pm, when the bank’s counters are open!

Location of ATMs

ATMs are located in places like convenience stores and shopping centers in addition to banks. A fee may be charged depending on the time of day and on weekends and public holidays.

Overseas remittances

You can make overseas remittances at banks or post offices. Find how to do this and the service charges at the bank or post office counter, or on their websites.

Credit cards

There are credit cards issued in foreign countries that can be used in Japan.

●When making a new credit card in Japan

Items required Documents confirming your identity (residence card, etc.), bank account, personal seal (inkan)
Application method Submit documents online, by postal mail, or at the credit card application counter

* The required items and conditions depend on the credit card company.


What is an inkan (or hanko) ?

Contracts are often signed by hand in other countries, but in Japan an inkan (personal seal) is used instead. There are various kinds of inkan, and they are sold at stores and over the Internet (cost is about 1,500 yen).

Seasoned residents say

  • Banks are often crowded, so make sure you leave enough time to spare.

  • Some banks will allow you to open an account without a personal seal.