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Money Transfers for Expats in Japan

Submitted: March 2014

There are no legal restrictions on capital flows to and from Japan.

The easiest way to transfer money is to have an account in Japan opened, and then to proceed with an international wire transfer.

Opening an account in Japan can take some time though, as you would need to first obtain a resident card from your municipal office, as well as proof of address. As the Japanese frequently make their payments with hard cash, failure to have a Japanese current account will not necessarily be detrimental. The problem is, making withdrawals in Japan from your overseas current account will likely cost something.



You can generally transfer money free of charge and without restriction to another Japanese account, but it’s worth checking with your bank. Further to this, ATM charges may (or may not) apply.

Your bank is likely to charge you for international transfers, although fees may vary. You might wish to check the applicable charges and restrictions at your Japanese bank.

Alternatively, you can use the services of a money transfer company. To save money, you can also use a price comparison website specialised in money transfers.

Typically, your charges are largely passed on to the applicable foreign exchange rate. See Foreign Exchange for Expats in Japan.


Cash control rules

There are no restrictions as to the amount of cash you can bring to, or take from, Japan. However, you must make a declaration to Japan Customs if you carry at least ¥1m (or currency equivalent) worth of cash when you cross the Japanese border. This is decreased to ¥100,000 for cross-border flows to or from North Korea.

Cash transfers include banknotes and coins, cheques (including travellers’ cheques), promissory notes, securities, and gold in excess of 1kg. International bank transfers are not within the scope of cash control rules.



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