Or the ATM, if you’re just traveling.

Going to the bank can be kind of stressful in English. And maybe you’re even more stressed out about the possibility of going to one in Japan.

To help you, in this article we’re going to look at some common words you’ll need if you happen to go to a bank in Japan. We’ll also look at what you can do if you don’t necessarily need to go to a bank, but you need access to your money through an ATM. It’s not as hard as you think, I promise.

Going to a Real Bank in Japan

When you go to a bank in Japan, you’re going to have to get used to a lot of new words and kanji. If you’re going to be opening an account or working regularly with banks for some reason, it’s a good idea to study and learn the common words used in banks.

Here’s a few of the more basic words you may need when going to the bank in Japan.

EnglishRomaji日本語
BankGinkou銀行
Information/ReceptionUketsuke受付
Passbook/BankbookTsuuchou通帳
DepositYokin預金
WithdrawalHikidashi引き出し
AccountKouza口座
BalanceZandaka残高
CashGenkin現金

Here’s a few of the more basic phrases you may need when going to the bank in Japan.

EnglishRomaji日本語
I’d like to open a checking account.Yokin kouza wo tsukuritaidesu預金口座を作りたいです
I want to set up an automatic payment.Jidouhikiotoshiwo settei shitaidesu自動引き落としを設定したいです。
Where can I find the ATM machines?ATM wa dokoni arimasukaATMの機会はどこにありますか?
I want to close my account.Kouza wo kaiyakushitaidesu口座を解約したいです。
I’d like to make a payment.Siharaiwo shitaidesu支払いをしたいです
I’d like to withdraw some money.Okanewo hikidashitaidesuお金を引き出したいです
I’d like to deposit money into my checking/saving account.Chokinkouza ni okanewoazukeiretaidesu貯金口座にお金を預け入れたいです

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and the words and phrases you’ll want to learn will depend on how much you need to do at the bank in Japan.

There are also alternatives for some of these words. For example, the verb “azukeru” (預ける) can also be used to mean “to deposit.” Notice how it has the same character as “yokin” (預金). As you learn more of the words you need, you’ll notice that there’s actually quite a bit of consistency with the kanji. You may also notice that katakana is used pretty often, which is really helpful if you can’t remember the word for something.

If you’re going to open an account, some banks will require you to have a hanko or inkan (those seals that people in Japan use to sign things), as well as your Residence Card. So make sure you know what you’ll need before you go. That will help things be less awkward.

The normal account most people use is called a “futsuu yokin kouza” (普通預金口座). You’ll also get a passbook, which you can use to record transactions. ATMs actually have a place for you to insert your passbook, and they will record whatever you deposit or withdraw.

Withdrawing Money from an ATM

When I lived in Japan, I knew it was going to be temporary, so I didn’t go through the hassle of opening a bank account. If your time in Japan is short, or you’re just passing through as a tourist, you can still access your money through ATMs (just make sure you tell your bank before you leave and they’ll tell you about fees and everything).

The words used on ATMs tend to be similar to the ones I’ve listed above for banks, so take a look at those if you want to use an ATM in Japan. The word for ATM in Japanese is just katakana, so that’s an easy one to remember. A lot of ATMs also offer their menu in English, so you can always switch it.

You can find ATMs that work for foreign cards in convenience stores and post offices. I usually just used the one at the post office. If you have a bank account in Japan, you’ll be able to use more ATMs, and they can be found pretty much everywhere from malls to train stations.

Also, an interesting tidbit: When I was in Japan I noticed that most people preferred using cash. I used cash to avoid extra fees from foreign transactions, but I was surprised to see that hardly anyone used a card. That may have changed by now, especially since you can pay for stuff just with tapping your phone. But I thought it was interesting.

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You’ll Be Fine

If you’re still nervous about going to the bank or using an ATM in Japan, just remember that a lot of these places do have English instructions as well. Some banks will even have people who speak English who can help you.

If you’re in a more rural area, or you decide to use a smaller bank, you might not get any English assistance, so make sure you study up! Of course, even if you’re in the city, it’s a good idea to know the vocabulary to work with a bank just to make sure you get everything set up the way you need it.

Remember, Japanese people are really nice, and the people who work at banks in Japan will definitely do their best to help you through the process of opening and using an account.

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