Welcome to Part 2 of our Valuable Information on Living in Japan series! This time we will go over banking, cell phones, and transportation.
If you have any questions or information that you would like to share about living in Japan, please leave us a comment!
Valuable Information on Living in Japan part 2
Japanese banks are usually open Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 15:00. When opening a Japanese bank account, you will need your alien registration card and address in Japan. You will receive your account information along with a bank book (通帳, tsūchō) When opening your account, you can also request an ATM card, which is used to withdraw, deposit, and transfer money through your account. Some banks may require you to have a name stamp (はんこ, hanko) to complete the sign-up process, although in large cities, most banks will accept a signature rather than a stamp. Shinsei Bank and Citibank are two banks that do not require a name stamp when opening an account.
Shinsei Bank in particular has a reputation for being foreigner-friendly, with ATM guidance and online banking in English, along with an English language website.
http://www.japanlinked.com/about_japan/living/openbank.html (includes list of common banks)
Shinsei Bank: http://www.shinseibank.com/english/index.html
● Cell Phones
The most well-known cell phone providers in Japan are NTT Docomo, au by KDDI, and Softbank. If you plan to stay in Japan for a year or more, your best bet is to get a subscription plan. You will need your alien registration card (in some cases, the letter that says that you are in the process of obtaining one may suffice), proof of address, and your Japanese bank account information when you go to sign up. At many places, if you sign up for at least a two year contract, you can get a new cell phone at cheap price or even for free. Cell phone bills can be paid at convenience stores, banks, post offices, as well as through automatic debit payments from your bank account.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2223.html (includes information on options outside of subscription plans)
Japan boasts an extensive and sophisticated train network, which makes trains by far the easiest way to get around in major cities in Japan. If you are going to be living in the Kanto area, it’s recommended that you buy a rechargeable, prepaid card such as PASMO or SUICA. These cards are swiped at a card reader on the ticket gates, and the fare is automatically deducted, eliminating the need for buying tickets and figuring out train fares. If you are going to be taking the train to work everyday, you may want to consider getting a commuter pass (通勤定期, tsūkin teiki), which lets you pay in advance for the cost of your commute. You can apply for one at the office inside of the station you are commuting to or from. SUICA or PASMO commuter cards can also be purchased at designated card-issuing machines at the station.
Join us next week for more valuable information on getting started living in Japan!